Back in the day we all smoked. The newspaper I first joined had a permanent cloud of smoke over the features desk, the result of a dozen or so addicts, augmented by one particularly foul smelling pipe smoker. (The pipe, not the owner!)

One especially memorable morning, the entire desk seemed to be sporting a 200 pack of the same brand, having all entered the same slogan competition offering a faster track to lung cancer.

At that time, it emerged, the big tobacco companies knew fine well the addictive qualities of some of the chemicals in their product, but they didn’t choose to share that info with us.

In fact they continued to insist their product wasn’t remotely dangerous. Much better for business.

One of their less savoury party tricks was to home in on young target markets both in the UK, and, most particularly in other countries where fears were yet to be raised. After all, if smokers would keep dying off, there was a need to grow a fresh supply of customers.

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I rehearse that particular piece of history because it seems to be being repeated by the vaping industry; currently up in arms at the suggestion that it should be made more difficult for young customers to buy over the counter products in England.

We don’t yet know the long term effects of vaping regularly. We do know that many manufacturers hope that teenagers vaping, who have never smoked before, might “graduate” to tobacco products later on.

Of course, it all looks so innocent. What could possibly be the harm in acquiring a social habit which sells itself in fruit flavours with lovely coloured kit?

Then again, that’s what they used to say about ciggies, as they suggested cigarette holders (remember them?) cigarette cases, and fancy lighters were oh so sophisticated.

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They didn’t ever suggest that coming off tobacco would be a tortuous business with a high failure rate.

But it is so. Though it can be done, no matter how many you puffed a day.

Here speaks a woman who has been down that rocky road and wouldn’t ever risk starting again. Or vaping for that matter.