About time too!

I am married to a life-long smoker. Some years ago, by way of gentle retaliation, I calculated her consumption had already exceeded over half-a-million fags but of course I had not yet worked out the potential cost in time-outs in the modern world. But in Japan…….


I retired before smoke-free offices were enforced but I do see groups of addicts standing outside their places of work at all hours of the day. So I can see the problem. Meetings interrupted or postponed. Phone calls unanswered or delayed. Simples.

If they wish to claim their addiction is a medical problem, then they must submit to treatment. If not, the Japanese solution is fair.

Author: janus

I'm back......and front - in sunny Sussex-by-the-sea

17 thoughts on “About time too!”

  1. A genetic condition, inheritable disease or the consequences of an accident are legitimate health conditions. Smoking — I grew up with smokers though I’ve personally never smoked — is addicting, but in most instances people started smoking voluntarily. It should not, cannot, be equated with a condition that came as a result of things outside someone’s control. As a non-smoker, I’ve sometimes grown annoyed by how many times I’ve had to pick up the slack from smokers at work. Sometimes I’ve had to delay or even miss breaks to make sure that tasks are completed because “someone” had to smoke a fag.

    In related news, there’s been a notable uptick in the Golden State of people driving under the influence of marijuana since it was legalised a couple years ago.

  2. CT, as I expect you know, DK will be come a cannabis-legal zone in Jan 18, for a four-year trial period. Allegedly the prices for the gubmint taxed varieties will be higher than their consumers.

  3. Sorry Janus, no sympathy with your view point at all…

    Many years ago, when work-places became smoke-free (far earlier here than there) the motion was put forward at a ‘meeting’ where I worked that those who didn’t smoke should be able to leave earlier than 4.21 (knock off time) to compensate for those of us who went out for a 10-15 minute smoko – two, or maybe three times a day.

    I was the first to agree – providing that all those who made personal phone-calls, read the afternoon paper – or, worse, simply wandered around the office, making thorough nuisances of themselves when they needed a break, added up the time they were ‘away’ from their ‘duties’ and worked extra to compensate. The motion was dropped. Everyone needs to take a break, one way or another… it is up to them how they spend it. It seems to me that the Japanese are using this as an excuse to stop any ‘time out’. Time is money after all…

    Christopher, you might like to remember that a lot of people started smoking well before the nastier effects were known. You will, no doubt, be appalled to know that there was an ashtray on my hospital bedside table so that I could ‘have a fag’ while I fed my daughters.

    It was long after that that the world became really aware of the effects of smoking – and became cigarette-phobic. And, in my experience, most smokers are well able to finish what needs to be done before taking off to have a ‘fag’ – you have been exceedingly unlucky to find otherwise.

    I’m sure that many people are delighted that the anti-smoking message is getting through to younger people …

    … and that they are taking up other addictive substances, like ice, instead.

    Nicotine is an addiction – and according to my specialist – far more addictive than heroine. But, don’t forget that both alcohol and nicotine are legal and addictive substances – no doubt about it. But, no government will ban either – they like the revenue from the tax far too much.

    It’s very fashionable to knock smokers – but hang on a minute!

    a) Smokers pay a fortune in tax (we have the most expensive cigarettes anywhere in the world here) for the privilege of killing themselves – far more than alcohol addicts do. Both cost the country a lot, but not as much as injuries of the health-freak sports fanatics – fact. And heroine, ice and other illegal drug users pay no tax on their addiction, but still get ‘free treatment’ on Medicare (NHS) … they even get ‘sympathy’ for their addiction.

    b) Nicotine addiction doesn’t make smokers forget how to behave… they’ve been well trained to ‘puff’ in designated areas… and to clean up after themselves – a bit like dogs!

    c) I’ve yet to read of a Nicotine Addict get so high as to crash their car, bash their partners or leave their children to care for themselves.

    d) Or for that a matter smash an OAP on the head, or rob a corner-store to fund their habit…

    All in all, nicotine addicts are the most well behaved, and law abiding of all substance abusers – and yet they are the most reviled…

    Until 14th July this year, the ‘they’ would have been ‘me’, ‘we’ or I. I haven’t reached the stage of most reformed smokers – and I hope I never do.

  4. Boa, my good lady has been rehearsing your riposte for decades! If only all nicotine addicts were the most well behaved of all…office workers. In fact they are quite likely to take their fagbreaks in addition to doing what the rest do by way of slacking. I would forego fagtaxes if fags didn’t cause cancer or if welfare recipients didn’t buy them as an absolute priority. In fact let’s agree smokers are no better or worse than the average on any scale so we have to resort to discussing the factual damage caused and the cost of their habit. Sorry.

  5. Boadicea: Hear, hear!
    Erm… one little thing. Could you possibly tell me how I can get our Tumultuous Terriers to clean up after themselves or even to wipe their feet when they’re all muddy?

  6. I agree with Boadicea and said so, albeit in deliberately more provocative terms than usual, in a comment to the original article on 30th October.


  7. OZ, I can’t find your comment! Could you repeat it, pls?

    Cog, what’s the correlation between smoking and NRA membership? 😉

  8. In the late 60s I was in the orthopedic ward at Ashford General Hospital ( glider accident…another story ). The porters used to bring round a trolly from which we could purchase cigarettes beer and sweets, to be consumed on the ward.
    In the early seventies I saw a TV program on what smoking actually did to you, not just lung cancer. I scared the bejesus out of me and I eventually stopped.

  9. Whew! I’m glad some people agree with me…

    Janus – may I (politely) say that from your own admission it is some long time since you worked in an office – since when smokers have become far more aware of the offence that their smoking causes and have changed their attitude towards their habit.

    Cog – I haven’t got a clue how to deal with dogs of whatever brand… but having recently watched a program on training dogs I think it should be possible to get your dogs to do just about anything… with an awful lot of patience!

    Jazz – well done. It’s taken me a very,very long time to actually get round to quitting…

  10. Boadicea: I was referring only to what you said in point (b) in your post of the 3rd (I think): “a bit like dogs.” But at least there’s no mud being carried in today, the ground being frozen solid with more snow forecast for tonight.

    Janus: Sorry, but I’ve no idea whether any such correlation even exists on more than a coincidental basis. Lacking the fabled fat research grant, I’m not motivated to explore this. The introduction of smokeless powder changed everything in another way. I’m reminded of a human cannonball describing his work: “You can smoke on the job. As a matter of fact, you can’t help it!”

  11. Janus – It’s still there if you follow the purple ‘Comment’ bar at the bottom of the article. Anyway, what I wrote was:-

    “I am all for this being introduced in the UK, but only on the strict proviso that those employees without children are likewise compensated for the me-me-me attitudes of parents (invariably the mothers) requiring unfortunate colleagues to cover for them every time they rush off on what is effectively paid leave to yet another domestic crisis during business hours or who are emotionally blackmailed, expected and coerced into taking their own holidays outside those months when the schools are closed and Mummy and Daddy need quality time with their very special little one. Shame on you if you even breathe one word of dissent or dare to think that your own quality time might be equally important.”

    I could have added much more, such as the iniquity (or not, depending on your personal prejudices) of smokers or tubbies – I am neither, by the way – being denied surgery unless they ‘conform’ to a lifestyle approved by the State, whereas the State will spend your taxes on, for example, antiretroviral drugs for promiscuous homosexuals and heroin addicts, a new liver (twice) for George Best who eventually drank himself to death, or send a helicopter out in foul weather to rescue some arrogant pillock who thought himself entitled to go for a walk in Snowdonia in a t-shirt, shorts and sandals in January with only Google Earth on his smartphone for navigation.

    The list of examples is endless and like I said, it’s all a question of perception.


  12. Boa, that’s true, I’m sure. My point was that smokers are just as likely as non-smokers to waste time in the office – so their nicotine breaks are extra, not substitutes.

    Cog, I think there’s a ‘smoking gun’ crack there somewhere but where?

    OZ, thanks. I missed that. I just refer to my earlier reply to our esteemed and eponymous leader, and would point out that smokers are quite likely also to be stressed mothers, tubbies (or wo’ever), demanding the same allowances.

  13. Boadicea: It’s ultimately a personal thing. Some smokers know how to behave themselves, some smokers do not. It has less to do with tobacco than it does their personal sense of decorum. I was well aware that until relatively recently the full negative effects of smoking on the health were not known. I’ve seen advertisements with doctors endorsing certain tobacco brands, etc. Some smokers do lack a sense of decorum, however. In the past years several major fires in California were started by smokers who tossed lit butts out their car windows into forests. Millions and millions of dollars in damages were caused due to this negligence.

    I don’t actually have an issue with smoking. So long as my lungs aren’t hurt, it’s not my problem. What I dislike is people who are careless and make their habits the problems of others.

  14. I am not a great subscriber to the claim that lit cigarette butts cause fires other than intentionally. I do not know if you have ever tried to ignite petrol with a cigarette tip, but from experience, it is not easy and I have never succeeded. They tips do not get hot enough, unless you suck hard, as the actress said to the bishop. As for wild fires, I am not saying it cannot happen, but I suspect it is more deliberate than accidental when such conflagrations do occur. In Zimbabwe, at this time of year, before the rains come and when the bush is tinder dry, it is not uncommon to see cigarettes lobbed out of vehicles onto the grassy verges . If cigarettes were responsible for fires, they would be far more frequent, in my opinion. Usually they are caused by people trying to smoke out bee hives. But I could be wrong.

  15. Sipu, about 17 years ago a spate of bush fires in Cyprus, attributed to fag ends, turned out to be the work of Turkish dissidents!

  16. A few years ago Janus, some poor English tourist had the misfortune to be seen dropping a fag end on Table Mountain. He was immediately thrown in jail and had a rough time of it. Cape Town like Portugal and other parts of the Med (is Portugal considered Mediterranean?) is very sensitive to fires which cause considerable damage each year. But most Cape Tonians are convinced their fires are deliberate and that dissidents of a different variety are to blame.

  17. It’s not necessarily the dog end that does the damage, although I am not at all convinced that a carelessly discarded one will not ignite dry grass or scrub, it is the pyromaniac mentalist with a ciggy lighter who is invariably to blame. One such untermensch up in Braga has just been handed an eight year sentence for his third such offence and quite right too. After this year’s devastating events in Portugal there is talk of those with convictions being electronically tagged under effective house arrest during periods of high risk even after their sentences have been served and equally quite right too. As I write, this year’s high risk period having started at the end of May will remain in force (unusually) at least until the second half of this month, so there is some deterrent element to be welcomed if it is ever rigorously enforced.


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