Steve N Allen Column: Why start an addiction that will cost you so much money - and make you smell?

There has been another round in the debate about banning smoking. This must be very stressful for smokers, although they have something they can do to help with stress, says Notts-raised comedian and writer Steve N Allen.

By Steve N Allen
Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 5:00 pm

There’s talk of increasing the age at which you can purchase cigarettes to 21. It would add smoking to a small category. There aren’t many things our society makes people wait those extra three years for, after turning 18.

At 18, you are an adult and we trust you to vote, get married and watch violent films, all of which can have self-harming effects.

When you’re 18, it’s legal for you to buy fireworks and light them with a cigarette lighter. Soon that could be the only thing you can use that lighter for until you’re 21.

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Steve N Allen, Notts-raised comedian and writer.

Smoking would join such freedoms as being allowed to drive a bus. At 21, you would be able to buy cigarettes and it is the age at which you can adopt.

I’m not sure we should be making it so that newly adoptive parents can suddenly start smoking around their little one.

If you have held a licence for three years, you can become a driving instructor at 21. The way some learners drive, I’d understand why you’d need to take up a habit to calm your nerves.

Another idea to stop us starting the nasty habit is to increase the age you’re allowed to buy tobacco products by one year every year.

‘When you’re 18 it’s legal for you to buy fireworks and light them with a cigarette lighter. Soon that could be the only thing you can use that lighter for until you’re 21’, writes Steve N Allen.

It’s an idea that’s being tried in New Zealand. It means there will be one group of children who, as they grow up, will always be under the age when they can buy.

I won’t be around to see it, but it means there will be a stage when only people over 90 can buy them and care homes will be like old working men’s clubs.

You’d get 89-year-olds hanging around outside the newsagents waiting for a 90-year-old to go in before saying to them: “Here Mister, buy us some smokes, would ya?”

As a non-smoker, I really don’t understand why anyone would want to start an addiction that will make you smell and cost you a lot of money.

I currently have a three-month old baby, and they do the same. I wouldn’t recommend that to an 18-year-old either.

I, however, find it very interesting that we are having this debate. We, as a nation, are thinking of stopping people under the age of 21 from buying cigarettes. Meanwhile, in America, they’re thinking of stopping under-21s buying guns.

It’s a good reminder that there are worse things than smoking.

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