Chris Maclean: the play's the thing

By Chris Maclean

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Smoking ban, Smoking

I'm told the smoking ban is now less than 50 days away and the smug and self-righteous at Smokefree England continue to send out their propaganda.I...

I'm told the smoking ban is now less than 50 days away and the smug and self-righteous at Smokefree England continue to send out their propaganda.

I smoked for over thirty years. Forty a day.

About three years ago I buried two people in two days from smoking related deaths. I quit soon after.

But I have striven to avoid being sanctimonious about it. I am a smoker who has quit and I am petrified of starting again. I am not a 'born-again non-smoker'. I hope I don't. I don't intend to.

But for all the wretched evils laid at the feet of smokers - secondhand smoke, litter, dirty pubs and the like - there is a possibility that the duty paid on cigarettes by smokers far exceeds the burden of cost of treating smokers on the health service. They might be a net benefit to us. And, particularly in the light of the pensions fiasco, this and previous governments have achieved, the idea that a body of people voluntarily choose to exit this life earlier than necessary I consider particularly public spirited. They will not be a burden on the pension system. They will not clog up our public transport network, doctors surgeries or other public places demanding preferential treatment. They'll quietly put up, cough up then toes up. Generous people, smokers.

So I continue to look for loopholes in the new law.

The latest missive from the propaganda department permits smoking by actors in plays where smoking is an integral part of the play. So I think I've spotted an opportunity.

I am working on a new play. I haven't decided on the title yet but the plot is straightforward. Five people, in a room, deciding on a particular tense issue each smoke cigarettes frantically as they reach their conclusion. It is essential they do so or the correct decision cannot take place. It is a play that can be done in a pub.The play lasts five minutes. It will be repeated ten times during the evening. The cast can change.

(If anyone can spot any flaws in it let me know.)

I hope the script will be on sale shortly. Order soon. I expect there to be a rush.

Related topics: Legislation

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