I was turned on to a bad habit by a secret smoker….I didn’t smoke though.

I was at a dinner party the other night where there was a secret cigarette smoker. It gave the evening, otherwise fastidiously politically correct, a frisson that only an ex-smoker can appreciate. It made me nostalgic for the old days when cigarettes were good for you and made you attractive to anyone – all you had to do was blow smoke in their face. Easy.

You could always light your pipe too if you wanted to turn someone on with your Klompen Kloggen.

I remember too those fights for the last cigarette in the pack. I’d have kicked the hell out of Santa if I fancied his festive Tareyton filter.

Smoking, somehow, made you feel stylish and sophisticated.

Is was great too as an ice-breaker when you met someone you wanted to impress.

Let’s face it, people knew just where you were coming from and where you wanted to go when you lit up a cigarette.

 It was so egalitarian too – butch cowboys did it and so did those women formerly known as babes.

You felt safe with a cigarette knowing that only cool guys smoked and that it was recommended by less cool people you could always trust. It’s a great idea for Christmas presents too.

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