Smoke away – but don't expect me to save you
Imagine if I discovered a new continent tomorrow. Don't mock. It could happen.
Amazingly, this huge new landmass, somewhere just off the East Coast, had been overlooked – mainly because explorers has got as far as Withernsea and decided it wasn't worth going any further.
That's a joke, in case your pen finger was twitching and you were thinking of writing an indignant letter in green ink.
We may have found this new territory earlier but somehow Apple Maps missed it.
Thinking of renting your property? Look no further Lime Property...View details
Lime Property are the regions fastest growing letting agent. If you have a property that you require a tenant for look no further Lime Property are here to help. Call us today on 01482 216060.
Contact: 01482 216060
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
As the first conquistador to reach this bounteous new land – let's call it Midgleyonia – I would, quite naturally, have first call over its natural resources.
All the natives would be traded colourful beads and Chuckle Brothers panto tickets in exchange for nuggets of pure gold, oil and wind turbine nacelles.
Soon, a flag bearing my face would be flown from every native's teepee, anointing me as their overlord.
Then imagine that one of my discoveries in the sunlit uplands of Midgleyonia was an evil-looking plant.
Soon, after a bored and slightly unsettling night of experimentation, someone discovers this plant, let's call it Mibacco, can give you a temporary buzz if you shove it in your ear.
The only downside of this wondrous discovery is that, after a few years it makes your ears fall off, your tongue turn black and, if you're lucky, your liver and kidneys try to escape through you nostrils.
Worse still, it's utterly addictive and any Mibacco user not getting his hourly "lugging" will be driven half insane by the need to shove something into his or her ear 'ole.
Obviously, Mibacco would be banned outright on medical grounds, classified a Class A drug and my reign of terror in Midgleyonia would face a swift and embarrassing end.
All of which makes me wonder, why do we put up with smokers?
Just because we Europeans started smoking 500 years ago, when we didn't know any better, and dunces believed choking down nicotine was a cure for everything from cholera to clubfoot, doesn't mean we should still put up with it now.
If Sir Walter Raleigh were to rock up with a shipload of Virginia tobacco tomorrow, he'd be arrested and given a strenuous cavity search by some angry border officials.
There are currently eight million smokers in the UK, all merrily puffing their way towards the sweet embrace of the Grim Reaper and his bessie mate, Lung Cancer.
According to the Department of Health, smoking is the biggest cause of premature death in the UK, accounting for more 100,000 deaths each year.
It costs the NHS more than £2.7 billion a year to treat those suffering specifically from smoking-related diseases. More than 1,200 people are admitted to hospital every day due to the evil weed. All of which makes me wonder, why do you do it?
This week is officially the start of Stoptober, which is a bit like Movember only with less fun facial hair.
I'm personally looking forward to Jugsuary, when ... oh never mind.
The Government, doctors and everyone who is an advocate of non-smoking are urging nicotine addicts to give the fags the heave-ho this month – hoping that the nation might not wheeze its way to the oncology ward after all.
It's a optimistic campaign and I'll doubt many make the long-term step towards quitting and breath that doesn't smell like an Orc's jockstrap.
Personally, I say if you want to smoke, smoke. But, if you do, don't expect the rest of us to pick up the bill for your maddening stupidity.
I'd refuse to pay out for any treatment for smoking related illness.
Tough, if you want to turn yourself into a hacking cancer magnet then get ready to reap the whirlwind, baby.
I can think of a dozen better ways to blow £2.7 billion on people who aren't hell bent on wheezy oblivion than on you lot.
Imagine how many new schools, how many new nurses, how many new sports centres and how many more roadworks Hull City Council could unleash that kind of cash.
Actually, on second thoughts, keep the cash – it takes me long enough to get home as it is.