EVEN without the dreaded weed, some folk cannot stop puffing away.
Several years after smoking in pubs and other public places was banned, a fresh threat to lighting up is posed with electronic cigarettes.
While ex-smokers tend to rationalise the latest craze, e-cigarettes still contain liquid nicotine, which provides a rush similar to the real thing.
But like certain types of so-called ‘gateway’ soft drugs, e-cigarettes could easily get users hooked on the harder stuff.
Health experts, who have spent years waging war against real smoking, fear the recent rapid growth in the popularity of e-cigarettes will see all their good work undermined.
Ministers in Wales are already trying to get the vapour ciggies included in the normal smoking ban, and many hope this will be repeated in England.
While there may still be some people who believe the moon is made of green cheese or that the Earth is flat, there cannot be many folk who still believe smoking is good for you.
The graveyards are full of evidence to the contrary.
And from a purely aesthetic viewpoint, I don’t like the thought of having a pint while surrounded by Basil Rathbone types, puffing away in clouds of vapour.
What health experts fear is that e-cigarettes will ‘normalise’ smoking in public places again.
And it’s difficult not to see e-cigs as a psychological crutch for those who cannot kick the habit.
I’ve never been a smoker, but I also don’t like moral crusades aimed at anyone or anything.
However, a few years before the smoking ban took effect, I developed allergy problems, which meant my eyes and nose would stream if I came into contact with smokers while enjoying a drink.
This meant whole Saturdays were ruined after a few pints on Friday night, so I came to dread anyone lighting up near me.
After a while, smokers in public places were in the minority and the game was up.
Everyone has rights, but not if those rights impinge on the health of others. Defending smoking in terms of personal freedom was defending the indefensible.
We used to send children up chimneys and down pits and everyone thought it was OK, but it wasn’t.
The same stark logic applies with smoking. It kills. Full stop.
So perhaps it’s time we asked people to stub out their e-cigarettes – for their own good.