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The Independent Online

Membership of the British Temperance League is booming. More and more of us are becoming ... well, temperate. This is an intriguingly timed phenomenon. Tobacco is already a semi-illicit substance, its users forced to huddle on pavements and shiver in office doorways.

Meanwhile, support for the legalisation of cannabis is swelling. Its backers always claimed that alcohol and tobacco are far worse for your health than the overrated weed. Nor is that all. This week, the Government is likely to turn your local casino into more of a drop-in centre than a members-only club.

Much of the social history of Britain can be told through the stories of its popular addictions – take tea and gin for example. Will the 21st-century equivalent of Andy Capp, then, be an alcohol and nicotine abstainer who is instead permanently stoned, giggling as he stakes another borrowed euro on red?