Quit smoking with reporter

PUBLISHED: 10:46 17 July 2007 | UPDATED: 21:45 29 May 2010

Reporter James Burton gives up smoking and offers support - Pic: Jonathan Scripps

Reporter James Burton gives up smoking and offers support - Pic: Jonathan Scripps

THE date July 1, 2007, will go down in the history books as a victory for public health and a defeat for the yellow-fingered, black-lunged smoker. It was the day that smokers across the country became unable to light up while enjoying a pint inside their

THE date July 1, 2007, will go down in the history books as a victory for public health and a defeat for the yellow-fingered, black-lunged smoker.

It was the day that smokers across the country became unable to light up while enjoying a pint inside their local, a frame of snooker at their club or a flutter at the bookie's.

Apart from in Stoke-on-Trent that is, which was quickly dubbed "Smoke-on-Trent" after an administrative blunder by the city council meant officers were unable to issue fixed penalty fines to people breaching the ban until this Monday.

Nationally, the country seems to be split over the smoking ban.

While many smokers are saying it's an infringement of our civil liberties, the 'nanny state' telling us how to live our lives, most non-smokers among us believe it will make pubs and clubs far more pleasant places to spend time.

They believe the ban will have positive effects on the health of the millions affected by the perils of "second-hand" smoke.

As a smoker - wannabe-ex-smoker, even - you would perhaps expect me to side with the former camp, but the truth is that I think the ban is a good idea.

So what if we can't have a cigarette in the pub? We can still have one outside, and those people who don't want to inhale our fumes no longer have to.

For me, and doubtless countless others, July 1 was the day I said I'd give up. Even many months before, I would say "I can smoke now, but come July 1, I'm giving up".

Funny that - anyone serious about giving up would not specify some distant future date, but declare themselves off the wicked weed straight away. After all, if you wanted to give up, you'd want to give up straight away, right?

So July 1 came around and I found myself half-heartedly not allowing myself a cigarette on my drive to work. Or after lunch. But the sneaky cigarette at 11am, with a cup of tea, was okay.

I mean, you can't expect to just give up straight away, can you? It's all about cutting down, then stopping altogether.

And so I found myself continuing to smoke, even though my self-imposed cut-off date had passed.

But I will stop. Ten years is long enough to have been smoking. And I value my life more now than I did when I started a decade ago.

It's just going to be harder than I thought...

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