Up in smoke

Head to head Are cigars the ultimate pleasure or a noxious evil? Sir Jimmy Savile is still puffing away a year after his heart bypass; Edwina Currie continues to fume at the filthy weed

The cigar smoker

"The cigar launched me into a most spectacular career of showbiz. When you start off life skint, which I did, and you walk around with a cigar, people think you are loaded. And they will do things for you that they wouldn't dream of doing if they thought you were skint. My cigar in the early days was a gimmick. I was a racing cyclist and I would arrive on the start line with a cigar and was immediately christened the Duke. It was the Tour of Britain, and in 1951 I was riding for Yorkshire. It started in London and all of a sudden there I was on the front page of the Daily Express ... `The Duke on the Tour of Britain'. When I got to Plymouth people came up to me and said, `Have a cigar, Your Grace.'

I wouldn't want to give up. There's absolutely no reason to, because my particular type of smoking is not injurious at all. I've managed three score years and 10. I know many people who didn't even make it that far who lived abstemious lives - nothing wrong ever passed their mouths. I eat junk food, smoke cigars and run marathons [including next week's Great Scottish Run].

I smoke about five a day. I've never had anybody objecting to me smoking cigars anywhere. When non-smokers try to dictate to other people I say, `Excuse me, we all fought a war to make it a free country, so you do your thing and I'll do mine.' If I takes the choice I pays the price and everybody can piss off and mind their own business and leave me to it.

I've no compulsion to smoke, but when I wake up in the morning I think, `Wow! I've made it again.' Then I get up, put the kettle on and light up. I'm still just as busy as before the heart bypass operation. It's the cigars that give me the strength."

The anti-smoker

"I'm an asthmatic. I can't put up with a smoky atmosphere, I leave. The worst is at very big expensive dinners, banquets, where somebody may light up a cigar. That I regard as desperately anti-social. They should be confined to a small box. They're disgusting, they make a dreadful, dreadful pong.

The idea that they're safer than cigarettes is nonsense. Robert Adley, who was a Member of Parliament, hadn't smoked cigarettes for many, many years, but he smoked cigarellas, which are seen as a small cigar, and he dropped dead at the age of 58. A great loss, he was a lovely man. All the research has been on whether or not the smoke is inhaled, and cigar smoke on the whole is not, but it's much more powerful, more raw, than cigarettes.

I won't talk to people who are smoking. A look of distaste curls my lip and I walk away. If they want to talk to me they can wait till they've finished. They stink to high heaven. I don't think people who smoke realise how unattractive they become. They've got brown teeth, brown nails - horrible! They look like convicts.

Cigars and cigarettes cause cancer, heart disease, shorten lives. They cause misery, pain, serious illness. My father died of smoking-related diseases. He had very severe hardening of the arteries and died of a heart attack at 65. What was really tragic was that he suffered so much for years beforehand in what should have been some of his best years, when his children were teenagers.

I would be very happy to see tobacco sponsorship and advertising done away with completely, and the sooner the better ... I'd like to see people stop, and then it wouldn't be a problem for any of us."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - Investment Management

    £450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: AIFMD Business Analyst / Consultant - I...

    Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pillar 1, 2 & 3) Insurance

    £450 - £600 per day: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Solvency II SME (Pilla...

    Manager - SAS - Data Warehouse - Banking

    £350 - £365 per day: Orgtel: Manager, SAS, Data Warehouse, Banking, Bristol - ...

    Web Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – Up to £43k

    £35000 - £43000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

    Day In a Page

    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
    Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

    Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

    Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

    But could his predictions of war do the same?
    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

    Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

    Young at hort

    Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

    Beyond a joke

    Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

    Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

    A wild night out

    Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

    Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

    It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
    Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

    Besiktas vs Arsenal

    Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

    As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

    Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

    The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

    But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

    Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

    Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment