Not too long ago, while being interviewed on a local radio station, I made reference to "enjoying a smoke". The reaction from the programme's presenter was akin to the man getting a slap in the puss with a wet fish.
He seemed to recoil in shock and horror at the very idea of a person enjoying a smoke. Sated as he was by the propaganda of the Anti-Smoking Industry, he was firmly of the opinion that smokers hated their cigarettes and cried in agony through each one.
Last week's Independent/Health Section might enlighten the lad. Announcing "a jab that 'vaccinates' people against smoking", we are told that "just one injection could provide lifelong protection from the cravings of nicotine and prevent the physical effects of smoking such as relaxation and lowering of the heart rate". Now, if I truly "craved" nicotine, I would be wildly stamping the streets, looking for it in its purest form and in bulk. But the desire to lower the blood pressure and relax is something even our horrified radio presenter might understand.
Dr Ronald Crystal, professor of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and research leader said about the jab "they will know if they start smoking again, they will receive no pleasure from it due to the nicotine vaccine, and that can help them kick the habit". So, a revulsion chemical is injected to take the pleasure out of smoking. Revulsion therapy is not new, but a doctor acknowledging that smoking is pleasurable certainly is.
The fact of the matter is that I smoke because I enjoy it. And yes, it is one of life's little pleasures, perverse as it might appear in some quarters. The article goes on to say that "studies show that between 70 and 80 per cent of smokers who try to quit light up again within six months". The propagandists would have you believe that the nicotine cravings became just too strong. But maybe it is simply a desire for a little moment of pleasure in a difficult world.