A DURRY, a dart, a death stick, call it what you want but it’s hard to think of another product dumped so dramatically from the cresting wave popularity than the fabled fag.
To be seen without a ciggie in hand was quite the social faux pas, in decades gone by, a must-have sartorial accessory, lest one subject themselves to the gasps of shock and derisive scoffs of their peers.
Snarling rockers, taciturn cowboys, heartthrob actors and actresses hardly had the same spark without smokes dangling out of their mouths like an exclamation mark on their being.
Smoking was so ubiquitous hospitals and GPs’ offices weren’t complete without ashtrays.
Now the smoker is the outsider, banished beyond the thresholds of pubs and, in Tamworth’s case, the main streets of their town too.
The non-smokers are now the ones gasping and scoffing imperiously at their fellow townsfolk who might have let out a wheeze or cough, a by-product of their personal pro-puffing policy.
Statistics apparently reveal smoking has significantly run out of steam in the last 20 or so years.
According to Heart Foundation spokeswoman Penny Milson, one quarter of teenagers were smokers back in 1996. Now, that rate is as low as five per cent.
Perhaps smoking was one of the world’s first milkshake ducks, Macquarie Dictionary’s 2017 word of the year, look it up.
The fax machine might be one product which has been shunned at harsher rate, in that time period.
With doctors and politicians rallying some support to raise the legal smoking age to 21, it’s difficult to imagine what difference it would make when peer derision and marketing has already done all of the leg work stamping out smokes.
As The Leader reported a few weeks ago, underage drinking rates have fallen, only to see a pendulum swing towards illicit drug use.
The sad correlation is, despite age restrictions, children are still accessing alcohol and tobacco; as well as drugs, which are criminal at any age.
If a law came to pass banning people under 21 years purchasing tobacco, people would find a way around it, as they do now. There’s more effective means to kick butt when it comes to kerbing cigarettes without putting the onus on the shop-keepers.