Now into their 16th season of ‘life in the great outdoors’, British smokers have come out tops in a recent Europe-wide health study. ‘I’ve had loads of fresh air and exercise these last four years,’ said seasoned puffer Malcolm Norwell, ‘in every weather conceivable; I’m not surprised by the findings.’
Extremist al fresco smokers include one man who moved his bed into his back yard so he could ‘enjoy a fag in bed on a morning’ without having to watch his wife and two of his four children suffer convulsive asthma attacks. Scottish hand-rollers particularly helped the winter scores, thanks to brave men enduring sub-zero temperatures for a satisfying smoke up a mountain.
The high health award may, however, be in danger, the Outdoor Smokers Federation has warned, due to the banning of outdoor smoking in certain areas. ‘There are No Smoking signs all over the North Yorkshire Moors,’ said a spokesman, ‘ostensibly to reduce the risk of moorland fire during an extended period of hot, dry weather; it’s a downright infringement of the smoker’s right to enjoy his habit in a natural habitat.’
Health & Safety officials pointed out that they had compensated the smokers by allowing the pub in Amplethwaite to ignore the indoor smoking ban over the bank holiday period. ‘It was unfortunate that this coincided with advice to close all windows and doors because of high levels of outdoor air-pollution,’ said a Health & Safety spokesman, ‘which resulted in a build-up of obnoxious carcinogenic gasses inside the pub, killing at least two asthma sufferers and injuring several others. No, I’m not having a go at smokers; they got a good result in Europe. I’m just saying.’