GRAHAM TURNER: It’s time for the annual quit smoking campaign

A personal view
A personal view
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For the past three or four weeks I’ve been annoying my family and colleagues with a really nasty cough.

Every few minutes I’ve subjected them to the rather unpleasant sounds of someone violently trying to clear their airways and on a couple of occasions I’ve come close to losing my voice (a bonus for them!).

This week, I stopped trying to be brave and got an appointment at my GP surgery.Hopefully the antibiotics I was prescribed will clear the chest infection fairly quickly.

The last few – painful – days before I went to the doctor coincided with the launch of the latest Government-backed anti-smoking campaign, repackaged and relaunched at this time every year to give all those New Year resolutions a bit of extra support.

These campaigns seem to be incrementally more graphic and this year’s is no exception – it’s quite unpleasant but did get me thinking about how much worse my chest infection would have been had I been a smoker.

I’ve never smoked, so I’d not dare to lecture anyone about giving up, but I have been surrounded by it all my life and seen the devastating effect it can have on someone’s health.

In one of the last lucid conversations I had with my Mum before she died – a lifetime of smoking meant that for her final few months she suffered from dementia brought on by a collapsed circulatory system – she recognised how it had destroyed her health.

You’d think that would have given other members of my family who smoke the perfect reason to give up, but they remain unable to break free of the habit.

It demonstrates the strength of the addiction and it’s the reason I’d never harangue anyone about giving up.

The only advice I can offer with the certainty of being right is simply: ‘Don’t start in the first place’.

-- I don’t know if it was a coincidence or not, but the day after some of us spent a lazy afternoon over Christmas watching the children’s film Chicken Run, one of my hens ‘tunnelled’ under our fence into a neighbour’s garden.

It obviously wasn’t that interesting for her as she returned after a couple of hours, but it did leave me with a picture in my head of my four hens balancing on each other’s shoulders to peer through the window and getting a few ideas from the TV.