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Yesterday, I was talking to an acquaintance who told me that their new years resolution was to stop smoking. It was a bit of a surprise as I hadn’t realised my 10 year old nephew was a smoker, but credit to the kid for trying to break the habit!

That was only a joke by the way! ………. My nephew told me there is no way he’s going quit the nicotine habit!

I admire anyone who attempts to break addictions! Be it smoking, drinking or Leeds United defender’s conceding goals, it takes a great deal of discipline, hard work and will power.

Writing about quitting smoking reminds me of a conversation I had with an ex-work colleague a few years back. He was trying vainly to quit cigarettes, which involved using a nicotine spray to ease his cravings.

He had mixed results with this stop smoking strategy. The spray didn’t cure his desire for a cig, it just caused him to sneeze repeatedly. However, it did stop him smoking for a while, as he kept sneezing the cig out of his mouth.

Unfortunately, he was soon back on the fags when the endless sneezing became wearing and it started to cost him more in tissues than cigarettes!


I’ve never smoked, mainly due to the fact I used to hate it when I was a kid in the 1960’s/70’s, when most adults seemed to chain smoke. I recall finding big ashtrays full of cigarette butts particularly unsightly, especially if on a table near food.

My mum smoked, although only about 5-10 per day, although my dad never did as he wasn’t keen on the habit. To relax he’d shout the word “bollocks!” every 15 minutes. It made him sound as though he had tourettes, but it was healthier than the dreaded weed!

Not that most people knew the full extent of the dangers of smoking in those days. Advertising was allowed then, which omitted the health risks, instead glamorising smoking as something cool! Slogans such as “It’s more relaxing than shouting bollocks every 15 minutes!” regularly adorned TV, magazines and billboards.

It has to be said that my dislike of smoking adults paled into insignificance compared with my brother Ian. If my mum lit up he would go upstairs. If she started smoking he’d do the same! I’m not sure why my mum used to light up, but on the plus side it saved money on light bulbs!

Ian really hated the smoking habit. I know that because he once told our mum “I really hate the smoking habit!”

I don’t want this blog to be judgemental. People know the risks of smoking through improved education. It’s certainly not for me to tell them what to do!

I have habits that plenty of people won’t approve of! I drink alcohol and, like my dad, regularly shout “bollocks” every 15 minutes to relieve stress. On a Saturdays when I’m watching Leeds Utd it’s more like every 5 minutes!

From tomorrow I will be on the waggon, drink wise for a month. I’m supporting my daughter who is doing ‘Dry January’ to raise money for the charity Cancer Research.

It is a charity very close to the hearts of my family and me. I’ve undertaken a couple of dry months myself on a couple of occasions. During this a friend and I raised around £1800 for MacMillan Cancer Support. I hope my daughter Rachel has similar success!

If you would like to donate to Rachel’s cause her justgiving page is:-


dry january 1

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Gary Strachan

2 kids who've flown the nest, 1 wife whose flown with Jet2. Born at a young age in 1960's Leeds, the author became interested in the literary life when his wife bought him a dog. Having an allergy to dogs, he swapped it for a typewriter. Being unable to train the typewriter to retrieve tennis balls, he reluctantly turned to writing...... Website -

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