I am mystified as to why people huddle in small groups, in sub-zero temperatures, outside office buildings, risking pneumonia, while simultaneously exercising their right to get lung cancer!
The following is an extract from my a chapter entitled “Smoking”, from my book Spain is Spain:
My first introduction into the Spanish philosophy concerning the de-
liberate ingestion of a toxic substance into the body came in 2006. I was
attending an inter-cultural program, aimed at improving the English of
Spanish business people. I was with twenty or so native English speakers
and an equal number of Spanish people. One of these Spaniards was a
woman in her 30s and she was pregnant. In fact she was very pregnant,
so pregnant in fact that I was sure that she was going to give birth at
sometime during the week long program.
When I met her she was smoking.
Not being a person famous for being able to keep my mouth closed
and my opinions to myself, I asked her if she thought that smoking while
pregnant was a good idea. She looked at me as if nobody had questioned
her actions before and as if she had never considered the question before.
This being Spain, she probably hadn’t. She told me that it was no prob-
lem because she only smoked four or five cigarettes each day. I pointed
out that cigarettes contained cancer causing agents (just in case she had
never heard about this). She knew about the cancer but didn’t think it
was likely to affect her or her baby. I told her that in England and even
in undereducated California, very, very few women would smoke or drink
during pregnancy. Basically, the only ones who did were drug addicts and
other similar types of people.
She then told me something that shocked me! She said that her doc-
tor had told her that the trauma to her body caused by stopping smok-
ing would be worse for the baby than continuing to smoke during her
pregnancy! I do not believe that there is a doctor in the UK who would
agree with this assessment (but I could be wrong).
Spain is Spain Book
This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)