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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
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

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Web Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Web Designer is required to join a f...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Business Development Manager

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to develop an ...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Day In a Page

    Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

    The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

    How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
    Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

    Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

    'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

    Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

    How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

    Art attack

    Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
    Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

    Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

    Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
    Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

    'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

    Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
    10 best wedding gift ideas

    It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

    Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
    Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

    Paul Scholes column

    With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
    Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

    Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

    Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
    Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

    Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

    The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor