A DURRY, a dart, a death stick, call it what you want but it’s hard to think of another product dumped so dramatically from the cresting wave of popularity than the fabled fag.
To be seen without a ciggie in hand was quite the social faux pas in decades gone by, a must-have sartorial accessory lest one subject themselves to the gasps of shock and derisive scoffs of their peers.
Snarling rockers, taciturn cowboys, heartthrob actors and actresses hardly had the same spark without smokes dangling out of their mouths like an exclamation mark on their being.
Smoking was so ubiquitous hospitals and GPs’ offices weren’t complete without ashtrays.
Now the smoker is the outsider, banished beyond the thresholds of pubs and restaurants and many other places.
The non-smokers are now the ones gasping and scoffing imperiously at their fellow townsfolk who might have let out a wheeze or cough, a by-product of their personal pro-puffing policy.
Statistics reveal smoking has significantly run out of steam in the last 20 or so years. According to the Heart Foundation, one quarter of teenagers were smokers back in 1996. Now, that rate is as low as five per cent.
But if the latest statistics about smoking rates among pregnant mothers are any indication, we shouldn’t launch the cork from the Champagne bottle just yet.
The latest figures, released last week, reveal that more than 15 per cent of mothers-in-waiting in the Central West have continued smoking in the latter stages of their pregnancies.
If the numbers are a reliable indication that figure grows a fraction when related specifically to Orange.
The sight of a pregnant woman smoking is not only sad in itself: It is a poignant sign of the addictive power of tobacco, since everyone knows how dangerous smoking is to the unborn child.
Nearly all mothers-to-be understand that the habit is harmful, yet for those unable or unwilling to quit they are willing to either overlook the horrendous repercussions or make unfathomable justifications for them.
For the non-smoking population it’s impossible to comprehend.
As a myriad of advertisements have told us in recent years, quitting is hard. But if the threat posed to the human life growing in your body isn’t enough to motivate you to stop smoking, you have to ask what will.