by Sinclair Newton
IVE given up smoking for the entire length of time it took to type this sentence. There. Now I've started again.
But I will be stopping again soon, honest!
I have a letter here from the Health Authority, which says I am highly motivated to quit.
I haven't paraphrased that, by the way. The testimonial - if that's what it is - is signed by my Smoking Cessation Adviser, I kid ye not.
I have enrolled on a six-week course of treatment, which was proudly announced in the new government's manifesto, along with giving four to six-year-olds a piece of fruit every day. When I was their age I was five and we got a little bottle of milk, whether we liked it or not. I sometimes wonder what they did with all the spare milk afterwards.
Anyway, this "support programme" lasts for six weeks and revolves around the use of Zyban, the anti-depressant which the Mail on Sunday says is a killer drug as if smoking wasn't a killer habit anyway.
I have to show this document to my GP before he will prescribe sixty of the tablets. The next bit is interesting because I take a tablet a day for a week whilst smoking to my heart's content. On the eighth day, I start on two tablets a day and throw away all the lovely ashtrays I have stolen from around the world (including one of those lovely orangey-brown ones from Bar Costa at Sta. Gertrudis which they obviously intend you to take because they bear the phone number (Tel: 197021) (unless it's so you can telephone them to report it lost and found).
In many ways that's going to be the hardest part. There's another one here from Lapland and one in the shape of a tamarind pod from the oh-so-upmarket Indian restaurant named after it in Mayfair. I don't want to digress too far, you understand, as I've just stopped smoking again, but did you know tamarind juice is a major constituent of HP sauce seen on every self-respecting Briton's breakfast bar? Check it out.
But to start again, it also says here: "The patient is aware that not everyone can safely take Zyban".
I've tried the patches, made in Ashton under Lyne, but though they stopped me craving for a fag they brought me out in a rectangular rash. The nurse (sorry, Cessation Wotsit) suggested I put them somewhere out of sight and actually someone else said why not try them on your leg as though that would make the slightest bit of difference to something that was obviously poisoning me.
Then there's the chewing gum of which I don't really approve and neither would you if you saw the state of the pavements in Ashton under Lyne.
Anyway, I'm going to try the lot, starting in about an hour. I went to make the doctor's appointment yesterday and pushed the letter over to the receptionist without checking. "I believe I need to see the doctor about this," I said without realising I had handed her a letter about a rent appeal.
sort of thing (among others) I used to do when I drank. Goodness knows what I'll
be like by this time next week., but I'll either let you know or you can read
about it in the Mail on Sunday.
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