Times letters: Smoking

Resident Trevor Ellis is concerned about the number of smokers in Brent. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

Resident Trevor Ellis is concerned about the number of smokers in Brent. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY/PA - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.

We must act on smoking

Trevor Ellis, of Chalkhill Road, Wembley Park, writes:

I am increasingly concerned about the level of nicotine addiction in Brent.

I will use the example of what happened to my dear mother (who isn’t a smoker) in order to persuade you to see how wrong it is to take our health for granted.

My mum had to be hospitalised yesterday afternoon after she started to feel unwell and was unable to walk. She has diabetes and her blood sugar had risen to a dangerous level. She also had three toes amputated as a result of her illness. Now, you may rightly wonder: how does that tally with the habit of smoking?

It is common knowledge a diet containing high levels of sugar can have a detrimental effect on our health. Anyone would be forgiven for expecting the food and drink industry would take responsibility for lowering the amount of sugar in their products to reduce the chances of putting the public’s health – but they have been slow to take action.

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I believe that the same principle applies to smoking. Do you believe a picture of a human heart on the front of a packet of cigarettes is sufficient to deal with an addiction to nicotine? Are “scare tactics” the right way to discourage smokers and those who are thinking of taking up the habit?

Maybe, but they do nothing to stop the health of non-smokers being damaged on the streets of Brent. After all, the husband of my college tutor died as a result of breathing in years of second-hand smoke.

The first thing I saw as I walked out of my front gate this morning was an empty cigarette packet on the pavement – and there was a trail of cigarette stubs and empty boxes strewn across the pavements.

If that doesn’t suggest to you nicotine addiction is a serious problem in Wembley, what will?

If sugar can damage my mother’s health to the extent she is diabetic and in hospital, how much more dangerous is tobacco to the health of smokers and non-smokers?