The year I was born - 1955 - the smoking prevalence in the UK was, reportedly, over 80%. Basically every adult, pretty much, smoked. Hardly surprising given the hardships of recovering from WWII, rebuilding businesses, homes, families and so on.
By 1973, when I was eighteen, that figure was closer to 40%. And 1973 is a bit of a flagship year. It is the year when NRT was introduced, the very first, ever, licensed medicinal stop smoking therapy. Coincidentally, that year also marks the first appearance, in the literature, of the term "addiction" in regard to smoking. Prior to that, smoking had been "a habit".
Consider this, then. For eighteen years, no-one had access to NRT or any other medical stop smoking treatments. Yet around 50% of smokers simply packed in smoking. And that was how it was seen - "you just stop". No "it's so hard, I need medical help". No "please can the state pay for me to have treatment for my disease?" (it was a habit - you just stopped. Like stopping picking your nose in public).
So how come, in 1973, it became, almost miraculously, "very difficult" to stop smoking? "You will have cravings, but our drug, our licensed medication, will help alleviate those cravings, making it easier for you to beat your addiction."
'Scuse me? What about that 50% of the smokers in 1955 that were no longer smoking in 1973 - and stayed "not smoking". OK, some will have died (people do, you know, only you'd be forgiven for thinking that some folks in Public Health aren't aware of that), but not that many. No, they'd dropped their habit. The rest, though, since 1973 have bombarded with propaganda telling them it's difficult to beat their addiction (y'know - the one that used to be a habit). That they need to see a doctor in order to be prescribed very expensive drugs in order to get rid of the monkey on their back.
Is anyone else seeing a pattern here? Do you think it might have anything to do with the war on ecigs currently being waged by folks with huge financial ties to Big Pharma?
Just thinking out loud...