Goodbye to all that. (And to them.....)

Yesterday morning at 6am one of the most draconian anti-smoking laws in the world came into force here in Scotland, a wee country that has more experience than most of the appalling effects of tobacco on public health. There have been a great many whinging articles from addicts, not least David Hockney, who may be a superb artist, but is a poor advertisement for the effects of a lifelong tobacco habit on the brain cells. Personally speaking, I'm delighted. One of my favourite cafes (good coffee in pleasant surroundings at an affordable price) has suddenly become unpolluted. My husband, who has a genuine allergy to cigarette smoke, can go to the pub again. And yesterday a young friend said "won't it be nice to be able to go out clubbing without having to wash everything when you get home!"
Interestingly enough, it seems to be the older generation who are doing the lion's share of the moaning. The kids don't seem all that bothered. But maybe it's because the oldies have been addicted for longer. Sadly, you get to an age when all the chickens start to come home to roost at once. You notice that people who used to be good looking have taken on that wrinkly, kippered appearance. It would be nice if that was the only problem, but I know dozens of people who have been killed by their smoking, people I loved and admired, people I miss with the added ache of knowing that since so many of them came from essentially long lived stock, they would probably still be here now, if it wasn't for the bloody fags.
One slightly bizarre side effect of the legislation has been to ban all cigarettes (even herbal alternatives) from the stage. Wormwood, my play about Chernobyl,has a character who smokes, and yes, it's part of the plot. There has also been a fair bit of moaning about "censorship" from people who should know better. However the consensus among younger actors and directors seems to be that since we are in the business of creating illusions, sometimes of a very extreme sort, (nuclear reactors in melt-down for instance) managing to convey the idea of somebody smoking should be a piece of cake!

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