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  • Frederick Smith discussed the changing view of smoking since the fifties.

    This photo shows me with my father at a family celebration. Notice the cigarette in my hand.

    When I was eighteen smoking broke the tedium of my work as an editorial assistant on a company magazine and offering a cigarette was a great chat up line in the discotheques I frequented around the centre of London.

    I think I smoked Kent cigarettes. I liked the sweet taste. There were no health warnings in the nineteen sixties.

    When I worked as a volunteer on a kibbutz in Israel we were given free, un-tipped cigarettes as part of our monthly allowance. Giving free tobacco to young people seems absurd now.

    I gave up smoking when I became pregnant with my first baby, because tobacco made me nauseous; but I occasionally accepted a cigarette at social functions.

    When I covered equal opportunities on my child development and education programme I asked the students to call out what groups of people experienced discrimination in our society, cigarette smokers came up more and more every year as a group.

    Strangely I have noticed there is an advantage for smokers who now face cold and rainy weather standing outside office blocks, outside restaurants, in a vacuum sealed chamber in airports, and on coaches and trains, as they find themselves in a gregarious group of like-minded people having a better time than the non-smokers inside.
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