Sending Smoke Signals…

29 Jun

I’ve heard a lot of talk recently about smoking. This is due to the impending “fence to fence” smoking ban at work, coming to a stressed-out workforce near you in three days time.
The Company has come up with what they believe is a compromise; at the 10 minute break in the morning, and in the half hour lunch break, staff will be allowed to walk – a good two or three minutes in some cases – to a pre-determined spot on the pavement outside the main office windows where they will be permitted to kill themselves to their heart’s content (as long as it doesn’t take longer than about four minutes of course)


I have enough confidence in my willpower that I shall attempt to simply not smoke for the twelve hours that I’m on site, as I’d rather eat.
However, there will be others for whom that just isn’t an option, and the ban may even increase their overall fitness, forcing them to take up sprinting in order to get in as many fags as possible before hotfooting it back to their workstation for a good healthy coughing fit.
This might even satisfy the requirements of the exercise “pillar” of The Company‘s Wellness Policy.

While the hopeless nicotine fiends are panting their way to the bucket of sand around which they’ll be forced to huddle, come rain or shine, they might like to ponder the irony that if it wasn’t for the habit-forming nature of the evil weed, we could very well not have been introduced to it at all.



            Sir Walter Raleigh
     “Nutty Walt” to his friends.

When Walter Raleigh came back from the newly conquered New World in the 1580s, he brought home with him three native Indians who were so hooked on tobacco that they’d had to bring bales of it back to England with them.
Raleigh used this as a perfect opportunity to study the experts taking – or “drinking” – their sacred herb.

He soon became a big fan, and would often be found in his room with his pipe, filling the air with what Queen Elizabeth described as “a foul smelling vapour”.

His habit was not appreciated by many people though, most of whom found it eccentric or even incomprehensible.
This point is illustrated by a story that Raleigh  told many times, in which he is seated in his rooms, enjoying a quiet pipe – in those days made from half a walnut shell with a straw for a stem – when one of his gardeners enters and, seeing his master enshrouded in clouds of evil smelling smoke, and fearing he is about to combust, dumps a bucket of water over him.

Raleigh, fortunately for the gardener, found this highly amusing.

Someone else who is highly amusing on the subject of Walter Raleigh is Bob Newhart. Hear what he had to say about him here.

Despite the fact that potatoes arrived on our shores at almost exactly the same time as tobacco, they were nowhere near as popular. Whilst smoking became common practice in all levels of society in a few short years –  Tabargies, a kind of tobacco tavern sprang up all over the country – potatoes initially had to be made a compulsory crop in order to get farmers to grow them.
Even then, it took over a hundred years before the common spud became quite so common.

It was expensive though. In Elizabeth’s reign it was the same price, weight for weight, as silver. This would make a 50g pouch of tobacco, at today’s prices, about £40.

Over the centuries, there have been some pretty high profile advocates of smoking including J S Bach, Beethoven, Edward VII, Edison, and General Pershing, American army commander in France, who once sent a telegram saying; “Tobacco is as indispensable as the daily ration, we must have thousands of tons of it without delay”


           Beethoven, yesterday.
     “Oi, Ludwig, put that fag out”

Indeed, it was the Thirty Years War that helped spread the use of tobacco across Europe, who were slow to pick up on the new fad, (although they have tried hard to catch up since, smoking of course being mandatory in France) and it was the Crimean War that popularised the cigarette as a convenient delivery system, so to speak.


              A Tobacco Plant;
    Opinion on smoking not known
So as you jog, coughing and spluttering, back from the roadside butt-bin, spare a thought for all the selfless pioneers that have gone before you, giving of their all so that you too may literally burn money.

Pass the ashtray.


Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Uncategorized



15 responses to “Sending Smoke Signals…

  1. eeestudios

    June 29, 2012 at 21:16

    Very informative. Thank you.

  2. Adam the Ruthless! (@Kilburnski)

    June 29, 2012 at 22:14

    If you are going to go 12 hours a day withdrawing then you might as well quit.

    • dalecooper57

      June 29, 2012 at 22:26

      I think of it more as anticipation than withdrawal.

    • Darmon Richter

      June 30, 2012 at 02:44

      If you are going to go 364 days a year withdrawing then you might as well stop celebrating your birthday.

      • dalecooper57

        June 30, 2012 at 06:29

        Oh, I stopped doing that long ago.

  3. Steve Conway

    June 29, 2012 at 23:55

    Adam’s right. I anticipate you saving a bale of money too, should you resist smoking on a continual basis.

  4. Jo Lockwood

    June 30, 2012 at 09:18

    very interesting. probably would be better just to quit though.

    • dalecooper57

      June 30, 2012 at 13:31

      Probably, but we all need a vice. There are worse ones.

  5. Ann Hurworth

    July 1, 2012 at 17:23

    Each to their own, I say. We all do silly things at some point or another.

  6. Helena Fortissima

    February 20, 2013 at 21:33

    Ugh! As an anesthesiologist, tobacco-smoking is a pet peeve of mine…smokers are full of nasty phlegm! Maybe if the tobacco was vaporized, which is a combustion-free process, it wouldn’t be as dangerous. Nicotine is definitely one of the hardest habits to kick.

  7. iancochrane

    February 20, 2013 at 21:55

    Here in Aus, I do sometimes feel sorry for smokers & the pariahs they seem to have become; all that slinking (& stinking) around in alleyways just to light up. Freakin expensive too, the government making so much tax money it makes me sick.

    It makes me sick to see it absolutely squandered on health care.

    When in Europe I’m always amazed @ the amount of smokers everywhere, & disgusted @ the cigarette butts strewn on the pavements etc. Much worse than here.

    Mmm. I think I might go with the pariah theory.

    Thanks Dale, a really interesting & well presented peice of work. (Sorry about that pariah quip. Present company excepted of course.)
    Cheers, ic

    • dalecooper57

      February 20, 2013 at 22:02

      Wow, thank you Ian, coming from someone with your writing experience that means a lot. Cheers.

  8. Spybubble Android

    June 16, 2013 at 01:33

    Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I
    have read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity,
    Guess I’ll just book mark this site.


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