Monday, 11 April 2011

A smoky surprise

Whilst I was pleasantly surprised by the good value healthy food I was served in Austria, I also had another not so healthy surprise - with all the mountain air and pure sunshine you'd expect I'd return home feeling refreshed, but instead I returned home with a chesty cough!

No it wasn't due to the late night partying - it was a smokers cough from some serious passive smoking. What I hadn't realised before I went, was that Austria doesn't have the wonderful smoking ban for bars and pubs that we have in the UK. The government did us all a huge favour with this ban - not only did it give hundreds of thousands of brits the nudge they needed to quit but it also extended the lives of the rest of us non-smokers who were passively smoking on our nights out. After I'd spent a couple of nights in smoky bars I was hankering after the smoke-free bars of London.

Also what was surprising was that it wasn't just the Austrians puffing away - but lots of my fellow English snowbombers seemed to be making the most of the opportunity to smoke indoors.

I'm sure that I'm preaching to the converted but I'm still regularly surprised at how many intelligent folk I meet that still smoke despite all the health problems - heart disease, lung, tongue and throat cancer, deep vein thrombosis and other circulatory issues.

I think one of the problems is the number of years it can take for these conditions to develop - the diseases you put yourself at risk of are so far off that they seem unreal. I think this is why the Alan Carr books and courses are so effective at helping people quit - as they force you to face up to the future consequences of smoking.

Another useful way to look at it, and infact at any unhealthy behaviour, is to think what you would do for a child - you'd be horrified if a parent gave a child a cigarette to smoke, or a macdonalds for breakfast - and whilst as an adult your body is generally more resilient than a child's it still needs looking after - so next time you go to have a smoke, or find yourself eating your way through a whole packet of biscuits - ask yourself if you'd let a child do that and it might just make you stop.

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