Is it too much to hope that in a hundred years' time, the smoking of tobacco will be a thing of the past, a quaint and ill-informed historical quirk akin to the use of lead as a face powder in the 18th century? With bans, taxes and public health campaigns already significantly depressing smoker numbers in the developed world, the hope is not wholly forlorn.
If only the same were true elsewhere. There are an appalling 30 million new smokers every year – the majority of them in the developing world – prompting experts to warn of a billion smoking-related deaths over the coming century.
While a cancer expert's branding of cigarette companies as terrorists may be excessive, and an outright ban on tobacco impractical, more must be done to regulate the promotion and sale of so incontrovertibly damaging a product. And not just here, worldwide.