Over the past few months the farmer and I have spent quite a lot of time visiting hospital for various things. It always amazes and horrifies us to find that just outside the entrance there is always, come rain or shine, a cluster of patients in wheel chairs, smoking. Some of them have terrible coughs, all of them look seriously ill. And yet they still smoke.
Before anyone castigates me for not understanding how difficult it is to give up smoking once one has started - I do know several folk who have managed it (often with help from their doctor or health centre these days). And before anyone tells me off saying that it is a personal choice - I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I would reply that if they then get ill with some lung complaint which requires hospitalisation, then they are taking up a bed which could be used for another patient.
My father was a heavy smoker until he was in his late sixties, when he got bronchitis AGAIN and the doctor told him that if he smoked through another Winter the disease would kill him. He never smoked again and was a great advocate for not smoking, but when he died, in his eighties, he died of emphysema.
I hate it so much - and another thing which really gets to me is that in our little town there are one or two places where the ground is covered with cigarette ends. One of the pubs, really quite a nice building, with nice tables and chairs outside, has the ground littered with cigarette ends and nobody ever seems to sweep them up.
Even worse, a really good bakers in the town obviously has one or two staff who go into the alley at the side of the shop for a smoke. They grind their cigarette ends into the pathway and nobody ever bothers to sweep them away. So the path, which leads through to the Car Park, is littered with them.
Am I being paranoid here? I hope not, but I really do find it quite upsetting. If people must smoke - and I repeat, it is their choice - then I would like to suggest that they do so in the open air, and dispose of their ends theselves.
End of rant.