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Should The Full Smoking Ban Be Delayed?

Dec 31, 2008 – SCMP

I am 84 and Annelise Connell is my daughter. Her advocacy of Clear The Air’s views on smoking in bars was reviled by K. Stanton (Talkback, December 29), whose own mother is 80 and still smokes. When I was young, I promised my father that I would not smoke until I was 21.

He died of Parkinson’s disease when I was 12 and the day I turned 21, I began smoking a pack of cigarettes every couple of days. I would like to explain to your correspondent that nicotine is an addictive drug and people do not “choose” to smoke once addicted.

I know, because I smoked for more than 20 years. I have a photo of me, when we lived in Hong Kong in the late 1960s, smiling while I held a lighted cigarette near my youngest daughter’s face while she opened a present on Christmas morning.

At the time, being addicted, yet ignorant of the fact, I thought nothing of it. It was only when my older children became teenagers that I realised the poor example I was setting them and quit. But the craving did not go away for a long time.

It was years later before I learned that nicotine was addictive.

If K. Stanton’s 80-year-old mother has no health problems from her smoking, such as a chronic cough or trouble breathing, then I ask them both to remember those who are now dead because they did not understand that nicotine is an addictive drug, not a “choice”. I wish when I was 12 my father had known that nicotine was addictive and had advised me never to smoke.

Mae Pedersen, Carmichael, California

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