Letter - Reformed smoker’s views on an ‘unpleasant’ habit

I feel it appropriate to comment on your article by your reporter Don Mort on the issue of Wakefield Council having pledged to the UK wide initiative on raising awareness, to health hazard of the smoking habit, by many people across our region.

As an ex-smoker myself, I sympathise with those who are concerned and serious about kicking the addition of nicotine, caused through smoking cigarettes.

I gave up the habit many years ago with great difficulty, but with the support of my wife and a degree of will power and self determination I eventually, thank goodness, succeeded.

I have long realised more than ever what a waste of money it was in addition to running the risk of developing lung cancer.

At the time I tended to dismiss the fact that no matter how particular ones hygiene and personal pride may be in wearing clean clothes, smokers cannot prevent the inevitable effect of the lingering smell. This pervades the skin and fabric so no matter what deodorant and other sprays are used, they do not mask the problem.

Standing by or being in company with a smoker, I now find unpleasant due to the odour of nicotine being present on the person and their clothing. I can quite understand now friends and relatives, who are non-smokers, not wanting to be in the same company of smokers.

This aside and not withstanding the smoking habit itself, there remains the question of the litter.

The cigarette packets and cigarette butts are all too often discarded in our streets and elsewhere by a majority of smokers, which, I contend shows a complete disregard for the environment we all share as a community.

I don’t want to sound as if I am preaching the rights and wrongs of the smoking habit, but I do think it is only fair to point out the short-comings of those offending in this manner.

This problem needs to be seriously addressed, and if necessary, countered by legal action imposed by the police and other authorities responsible for implementing the law. The persons found committing such an offence, I think in most cases, just don’t give a damn for the state of our environment, public open spaces and surroundings.

Finally, I recently visited a relative in Pinderfields General Hospital and was disgusted to witness significant numbers of people smoking cigarettes outside the hospital entrance.

Some were visitors and some were patients themselves who were in clear breach of the several large signs affixed to the low wall by which they were standing, that clearly and explicitly ban the practise of smoking in that area.

The footway leading in to the hospital entrance was disgustingly and overwhelmingly littered with numerous cigarette butt ends as I made my way through the throng of smokers.

At no time did anyone in the employment of the hospital approach and speak to those people smoking - this state of affairs seemingly lacking any enforcement of the aforementioned signs pointing out the prohibition to such smokers.

This scene was, I am sorry to say, farcical in the extreme and the hospital authority responsible for this debacle, need to start doing their job properly and treat it as the priority it deserves to be.

Colin Longley

Coppice Close