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The crap about passive smoking

A man who used to be the lead singer of a group that got to the top of the Britiish charts a number of times - Terry Hall of "The Specials" - is an unrepentant smoker and here he speaks out against the vociferous majority that are calling for a ban on smoking in all public areas:

"I think you should be able to smoke everywhere in: in swimming pools, on the tube, in restaurants... Why can't you smoke over people's salads? It's fantastic. If a non-smoking friend objected to me smoking, it'd be, like, do they really want to be my friend? I might have to put up with things they say or the way they eat. What's passive smoking? There's passive lots of things. Like passive listening to shitheads. I have to put up with that every day. Are you going to ban people from talking crap? They give me a headache. Believe me, they're killing me. One day people's conversations on the street will do me in.

"I started smoking when I was 12. Nobody told me not to. Maybe I wouldn't be doing it now if I'd known the risks. I've tried smoking herbal cigarettes but they made me feel sick. "My wife has never had a cigarette, but she knows that if I stop I turn into some kind of horrible monster. I also get eczema all over my hands. My wife bothers about breath smells, which is OK, but it doesn't worry me. I've got a huge bottle of breath freshener that gives me ulcers. But if your're really worried, eat mints or don't talk to anybody.

"Last Christmas I went to see my dad and he looked really ill. He was a heavy smoker - both my parents were - and the doctors said it was lung cancer and that he only had a month left. After a couple of weeks they let him home for a bit. I'd been on this 'new man' thing and arrived with orange juice and grapes and all these leaflets. I walked in and he had a fag and a bottle of brandy. It was just like: "Forget it." He told me smoking had taken eight years off his life, but he didn't miss them because he was happy with the 71 he'd had. It's a good way of looking at things. He died in May. If anything will make you stop smoking it's seeing all these lung cancer patients in the hospital ward. It's a terrible sight, but it didn't make me stop. So I thought: "OK, this is what I'm gonna do."

"It was the first time I'd seen anyone die, and I know I could get the same thing. It's a weird religious thing when you're holding someone's hand and they pass away. Because of that, it's made me strong about living in a positive way. You can try to be somebody else but it's a lie. I smoke - that's the kind of person I am. I think you should look in the mirror every day and say, "Hey, I like me just the way I am.""