1 EAGLETON NOTES: Smoking

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Friday, 7 December 2018

Smoking

In October my brother, CJ, and I went to the 1950s Museum in Denbigh, North Wales. It is a fascinating place and, for those of a certain age, it evokes many memories and, for those who are younger, it doubtless causes differing degrees of disbelief. I hope to write a few posts on the museum but this one is specifically on smoking and the, now, unbelievably different attitude to smoking's acceptability in every aspect of life. Who, for example, could ever believe that this advert might actually produce positive results:


I'm sure some of these pictures will bring back memories for some of my older UK readers:


Capstan Full Strength, Senior Service and Players were preferred by men and were rarely (if ever) sullied by a filter tip (I'm pretty confident in saying).


Balkan Sobranie were favoured by people who wished to make a statement (I'm not quite sure which statement) and people who just loved the 'different' taste. My Grandmother smoked Woodbine from pre-teen years (illicitly) until she died at the age of 93. My special treat for her on occasion was to bring in a box of Sobranie.


I had completely forgotten about Park Drive but that was the cigarette that my mother smoked until she gave up - possibly in her 40s. However until she died (again at the age of 93 like her Mother) she always craved a cigarette after dinner.


Pipe tobacco. My Dad smoked Condor (or occasionally St Bruno) all his life (he died at 94). My Uncle smoked the pipe tobacco Cut Golden Bar or Gold Block until he gave up some time before he died (as his Mother and Sister had done at 93).


I gave up cigarettes in May 1967 just having bought a box of 50 Piccadilly Tipped and smoked 3 of them. I threw them across the office declaring I would never smoke another cigarette as long as I lived. The office junior scrabbled round picking them all up and made off with them after asking if he could have them before I changed my mind. I have never smoked a cigarette since.


RIP Dad
[Family063.jpg]
Morris Thompson Edwards

39 comments:

  1. I still smoke but roll my own now as commercial cigarettes are awful. The price of tobacco being what it is I must have purchased a bloody hospital by now.
    Thanks wonderful memories of some beautiful flavours.

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    1. Adrian, I think that I can count the number of friends who smoke on the fingers of one hand. In fact (apart from the bowling club where there are a number of die-hard smokers) I'm struggling to think of a single friend who still does although one smokes a pipe.

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  2. An interesting post. With all these smokers dying in their nineties, I wonder if you are sending out a new health message. Perhaps it should be printed on cigarette packs - "SMOKE LIKE A CHIMNEY AND LIVE LONGER!"

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    1. Yes, YP, the post does rather send the wrong message.

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  3. Well done for just quitting like that, back then. I never smoked and my parents didn't either. In my early working years it was still allowed in all the offices where I worked as secretary though. I remember it especially from one of my first jobs where my office was between the offices of my two bosses, who were both smoking all the time. Back then I had not yet developed asthma, that came some years later. But probably just as well that particular job didn't last longer than a couple of months! I remember hanging my clothes out of the balcony to air, every afternoon when I got back home...
    Before smoking was banned in public restaurants, I almost never went out to restaurants or cafés because of reacting with asthma as soon as there was a smoky atmosphere. This week I heard on the news that smoking will be banned even in the outdoor areas of cafés and restaurants in Sweden from July 2019.

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    1. Monica, smoking is banned in many places in the UK and the culture is altering so that smoking is not really socially acceptable any more. It is very noticeable now when one meets or even passes a smoker in a public place because of the smell that follows them around.

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  4. The brands are unfamiliar to me, except for capstan, which I think my dad has mentioned.
    I have never smoked but I remember a society where smoking was acceptable in lunch rooms and restaurants. My most vivid memory was knocking on the door of a staff room at school and having the teachers open the door to reveal a blue haze. It's surprising they didn't all die of passive smoking

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    1. Kylie, it's entirely possible that years later some did develop smoking-related diseases.

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  5. I love (and don't recognise) the last photo GB. Thanks for sharing it with us, xx

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    1. Thank you Helen. It was taken on a day out to North Wales and given a little time I could tell you exactly where. I took a few photos that day of Mum and Dad and Nana. Your Dad and Jo and I were there a few weeks ago.

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  6. Your father was quite handsome.

    Interesting post bringing back memories of how tobacco permeated life. Da smoked cigars. The scent is memory perfume to me.

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    1. Thank you Maywyn. He was a wonderful father too. I enjoyed the smell of cigars.

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  7. It was a different age. The teacher's staff room was always blue.

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  8. My people were non-smokers, but always bought those Black Sobranie cigs to offer at cocktail parties. I think they were viewed as a novelty.

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    1. Cro I think Sobranie and cocktail parties were a good match.

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  9. I collected enough coupons from Embassy cigarettes to get six wine glasses. I didn't smoke but left it to my first husband to choke on them!
    My Dad smoked what he called cheroots, your father appears to have pipe and a cigarette on the go.

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    1. Potty, I'd forgotten about cigarette coupons (although I collected cigarette cards as a child). I looked again at the photo and I see what you mean. It does look as though he's holding a cigarette. It certainly wouldn't have been his but I'm not sure, if it was a cigarette, whose it could have been. I never smoked outdoors (nor, indeed, at home) so it couldn't have been mine. I think Mum had given up by then but she didn't smoke outdoors either. Quite a conundrum.

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  10. In Oz over the last 20 to 30 years there has been a very successful campaign against smoking and I actually don’t know anyone personally who smokes these days. Good thing too as more than half of my mother’s 13 siblings have died from smoking related disease. We are amazed at the amount of smokers in Europe especially in Paris and never sit outside in cafes and restaurants because of this. Slow learners !

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    1. Helsie, it's a long time since I was in Paris but certainly in France smoking still seems to be much more acceptable than in the UK. I can't think of any of my friends here who smoke and, thinking about it, I don't think I knew anyone who smoked in New Zealand either.

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  11. I haven’t smoked since a friend and I used to share one from a box of 5 Turf cigarettes (what happened to Turf? Or, come to that, boxes of 5?) on our way home from school at age about ten. I smoked one in front of my mother, and she took no notice at all. I never bothered again. Well done you for giving up when you did. My father did exactly the same thing, having bought a fresh packet. Sadly, his lungs were by then quite damaged.

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    1. You obviously always were a bit of a rebel, Frances. I never tried smoking as a youngster. It wouldn't have occurred to me. I think I was probably in my late teens before I even tried a cigarette.

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  12. Smoking is not something that I have ever had the desire to indulge. That poster is false advertising for sure.... wouldn't get past regulators nowadays.

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    1. Lynda, I suspect if I were not born into the era where smoking was the social norm I would never have smoked either. I've certainly never missed it. I doubt if there were any regulators fior advertising in the '50s.

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  13. I remember the smoke filled tiny offices when I started work in 1969, couldn't see across the room for smoke, before open plan became fashionable. Nobody in my family smoked except father and he died at 55 of lung cancer. He rolled his own with St Julian Empire. Our lives revolved around his ounce of St Julian and the Budget. Nice post and hello.

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    1. Hello and thanks for the comment, Rachel. I'd forgotten how recent the real change in offices was. The change has actually been quite swift although, for me, it seems that it started many decades ago.

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  14. I gave up smoking gradually so that I finally stopped on my 40th birthday. Did it by reducing the time smoked by 1 hour per week. Week 1 - first cigarette at 8am, week 2 - first cigarette at 9am and so on. When I was a boy I collected empty cigarette packets I found in the street and stuck them in a scrap book. I had most of the ones in the Welsh cigarette museum in my collection. The best place to find thrown away cigarette packets in those days was near Liverpool Docks. Also there one of the biggest tobacco warehouses in the world, if not the biggest at that time.

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    1. Gwil, finding a way that suits one in giving up any habit is the important thing. Mine was an unconsidered spur of the moment decision and I couldn't go back on the decision without letting myself down. I was offered a job with the Imperial Tobacco Company in Liverpool when I was a young man. Fortunately I didn't take it.

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  15. From the look of it most of the those brands were before my time, although Park Drive is still sold and is incredibly popular here in NZ. I started smoking when I was 14, when there was no age limit and a packet of 20 menthols was about $3NZD. I was a social smoker over the years except when my children were growing up and continued it when they got older however once i started working in dentistry and saw what it was doing to peoples teeth it made me quit once and for all. These days cigarettes and tobacco are far too expensive, for a 30g packet it costs about $50NZD and for a 20 pack of cigarettes is about $23. The govt here is trying to get people to quit by raising the cost but it hasn't worked so far.

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    1. Amy, I'm quite surprised by what you say about raising the cost not having worked in New Zealand. For the ten years I was there I knew almost no one who smoked and saw relatively little of it. However that could be because I just wasn't observant. At that price I'm surprised anyone smokes. I've no idea what the price is in the UK but I know a few people who just weren't prepared to pay the price any more. A few years ago branding on cigarette packages was stopped here and I haven't seen a packet since to know what they are like which says something. My New Zealand Family have a dental practice so I can understand why seeing what smoking can do to one's mouth put you off.

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  16. Ahhh...the Sobranie Black Russian cigarettes...back in the Sixties we'd go wild and buy a pack...and yes, it was for a statement...a bit of a show. They made us feel quite avant-garde! I used to smoke Marlboro (Red) and/or Alpine...and sometimes, Winston.

    I gave up smoking a number of years ago...I went "cold-turkey"....the only way to beat the habit, in my opinion. I just stopped buying them...that seemed to solve the problem!

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    1. Lee, stopping buying them is a sure way to stop smoking - or lose a lot of friends by smoking OPs. I remember Marlboro but I'm not sure they were very popular in the UK.

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  17. GB... great post! I just bought some St. Bruno, have not tried it out in any of my pipes yet, but it's a plan for this weekend (if I don't come down with the cold that's threatening, that is).

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    1. Mrs S. I'm surprised St Bruno pipe tobacco is still available. Oddly I only know of two people on Lewis who still smoke a pipe.

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  18. PS: That photo of your dad (?) is smashing - my favorite photos of my dad are with his pipe, too.

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