I am of a generation that actually remember cigarettes. I am old enough that I remember people smoking on planes. The armrests used to contain ashtrays. Sometimes if you fly on a really old plane they're still there! Imagine that! Totally unthinkable today. When I traveled to France as a student on Eurolines coaches, 15 hour marathons down to Montpellier, there would be people smoking the entire way in the "smoking section" of the bus - what a joke that was! Completely and utterly disgusting of course, but somehow acceptable in those less enlightened times. You would stagger off the bus stinking, much as a you used to come home from the pub reeking of tobacco even if you didn't smoke, as that was just what happened. Not that I go to the pub very much these days, but when I do I am thankful that this is no longer the case. There are still some old boozers where the stench is still leaching out of the yellowed walls, but by and large it has completely gone. A lot has changed in a short time. The irony is not lost on me that I'm more likely these days to encounter a big cloud of smoke outside on the pavement.
However these days that cloud is perhaps more likely to be minty, or to have a sickly whiff of fruit about it. The curse of the eCigarette. I have no idea what is in these futuristic-looking contraptions but in my view they are equally disgusting, just in a different way. The other day I was walking down the street and all of a sudden I was enveloped in an apple mist. Yuck! A fog of crud that had until five seconds earlier been inside the bloke in front of me's chest! Double yuck. The trouble with these things is that they have a stealth mode - they are 'always on' so to speak. So one minute the air is lovely and clear, or as clear as it can be in London, and the next second a nicotine pang strikes and unwary passers by are instantly suffocated by a chemical concoction of tutti frutti via a total stranger's internal organs and windpipe. I find it deeply gross and highly antisocial, almost worse that an actual cigarette.
Hopefully it won't be long before some bright spark proves that these things are actually more deadly than real fags, and they and all the cheap vape shops that have sprung up nearly everywhere are a thing of the past. Mind you, by then people will have found some new dumb way to kill themselves and have moved on to that.
Anyway, must dash, my nightly Gin and Tonic is waiting.