Clearing the air … going on 24 years

A significant personal milestone this week. It has been 24 years since I extinguished my last cigarette.

I got ‘hooked’ in my first year of university, back in 1965. What a different time it was. You could smoke absolutely everywhere in the college I attended, including most classrooms. A large pack of smokes cost less than 60 cents. For the first few months, I mostly smoked O P’s .. other people’s. That means I was a bum, and some of my victims still remember and cross the street when they see me coming.

Hard to believe as I look back that I was a ‘package a day’ man for 27 years, finally clearing the air in September of 1993. By then, that large package was up to six dollars, and today it’s more than 15 bucks.

As I write these words, I gaze out my apartment window to a busy street in Winnipeg. There are people doing renovations in the building next door, and at least once an hour I see the smokers trooping out to the sidewalk to puff away and surf their smartphones. Will they be out there in January when it’s 30 below?

Probably yes .. roughly 17% of Canadians are still regular smokers, and there are more men than women in the group. I watch a lot of older movies, and boy did the actors in them smoke a lot. The anti-smoking lobby were convinced that big tobacco put money into movies and TV shows, if cigarettes were shown.

Humphrey Bogart was my smoking idol, until I managed to figure that I didn’t really watch his films until after he had died of cancer of the larynx. Tobacco growers are still subsidized by the taxpayer, despite what you hear to the contrary, and taxes account for well over half the cost of that pack of cigarettes.

Did I tell you that I still occasionally have dreams where I’m smoking?

I wake up, and for a few seconds it feels like I have a sore throat.

That is truly a powerful addiction.

I’m Roger Currie

Roger Currie


Veteran radio journalist, now working primarily as a writer, commentator and freelance voice. My regular commentary "Currie's Corner" is heard on CJNU ( Nostalgia Radio ) at 93.7 FM. Text and audio can be found at I also do a daily newscast on CJNU, at about 7.15 & 8.15, every weekday morning. It's also posted on the CNC homepage.

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