My Ciggies Puffs of SmokeNosmoke

No-one would want to encourage smoking or doubt that it is bad for health.  But I resent being treated as an evildoer by the Medical Profession or at least their Public Relations pronouncements. To be fair individual health professionals are much more circumspect on a personal level and are even defensive when I point out that unlike alcohol, smoking does not cause road traffic accidents, nor domestic, public or football violence.

I smoke because I enjoy it and it brings me certain benefits which I could only otherwise achieve by the use of drugs, prescribed or illegal, or yes! alcohol. I happen to look after someone who causes me great stress. Without the calming effects of reaching for, lighting up and puffing on a cigarette I would certainly go to pieces. Why not go for nicotine replacement tablets, patches or gum? you say. Because I resent the price being charged for it. If the NHS were really serious about helping people to stop, they would provide them on free prescription. Could it be that the Government is worried about losing the enormous tax revenue we smokers provide to them?

No one has ever told me what is the overall risk of getting Lung Cancer, I suspect it is quite small, so to tell me that smoking doubles the risk  or increases it by one hundred percent means nothing. To me a risk of one in a thousand is much the same as two in a thousand compared  to the many other risks I take daily. And that poor chap with a ridiculously long oxygen line  in the television adverts claims to have been shown what caused his problem by a so called routine X-ray. Well sorry, routine X-rays were stopped many years ago because they posed a greater risk than smoking. This is simply dishonesty.  Likewise the so called artery being squeezed of its fatty deposits is not a real one. I asked a nurse why not?, because they cannot show all the blood she said. Now there is the possibility of having to put up with gruesome pictures on cigarette packets. Well I shall simply return to the cigarette case I got for my 21st birthday  ( in 1959 when smoking was respectable).

That smoking is a risk factor in the cause of heart problems I do not doubt, but it is one of many and probably  my other sin of eating too much chocolate is bad too.  I do have blocked arteries around my heart but I do not fit the standard assumptions because my blood pressure is and always has been that of a young man. Back in 1989 I was diagnosed with Angina on the basis of the classic symptom of tightness around the throat. I believed it and duly began taking tablets and occasionally used the puffer. The latter gave me instantaneous headaches, the tablets made me feel terrible and unable to climb stairs. I returned only to have the dose doubled. Happily a chance remark by a retired hospital sister alerted me to the possibility that the tablets were to blame and I got them changed. So I went on for several years taking the tablets. Then after a strange series of events I went to a healing service led by a very old fashioned evangelist. I knew he would say There is a man here suffering from Angina and when he did I leapt out to him. He cast out the Spirit of Angina and told me to hold up my arms every day for 21 days and say I believe Jesus is healing me. I did precisely as I was told and on the 21st day simply stopped the tablets. They included Betablockers and I knew that stopping them suddenly was not recommended. Nothing happened and I felt neither better nor worse. It was only several weeks later that I realised what had happened. My fear had been cast out and I was no longer worried whether I had Angina or not. My doctor of the time declined to comment. That was 1992

Earlier this year  (2004) my health centre were doing some sort of audit and they found me, and, having checked I was still alive, wondered why, as a heart patient, I was receiving no treatment. Clearly the above had not been put in my notes. Later I complained of occasional funny dizzy spells. Blood tests showed nothing so we were back to my heart: Exercise ECG first and eventually another angiogram, all of which showed much the same as  fifteen years before. Again I was diagnosed with angina and given the newest tablets, which did nothing at all. I declined betablockers. When I was finally  assessed in a London hospital, it seems that the risk of an operation is greater than doing nothing. And the biggest surprise was that the doctor said Stop the tablets. So I continue to puff both uphill and on the occasional cigarette.

I am not altogether sure why I have written all that, certainly not to encourage others to smoke, nor to derogate the Medics. But dear reader I do encourage you to make your own decisions and not be brow-beaten by propaganda.

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