Lifetime conundrum

I don't often read the warning text on my packs of baccy.

To be honest, I prefer the images – they add a bit of colour and are worth a chuckle.

I noticed a particular text based one recently and I don't remember seeing it before.  Maybe it has been around for ages and I just haven't noticed it?

"Lifetime smokers lose an average of 14 years of life"

This bothers me.

Assuming a lifetime is around 78 years, then presumably they mean a smoker will only live to 64?  Therefore a smoker's life expectancy is a mere 64 years, but then that implies he has to lose a further 14 years off that?  Or to look at it in another way, if a smoker is expected to die at 64, then he can never reach a lifetime [of 78], which sort of negates the whole thing.

It's one of those little paradoxes that doesn't quite compute.  It's a bit like crossing a room where you halve the distance you walk each time, and it turns out you can never reach the far wall.  Or like my saying that everything I say is a lie [which means that statement is a lie]. 

The only way that statement can possibly work is for someone to smoke their entire life, reach 78 and then have to somehow travel back in time to die at 64.  I haven't heard of anyone doing that so I think it's unlikely to happen.

This is only an idle bit of whimsical thought though. 

I'm not worried.

You see, I'm not a lifetime smoker.

I didn't start until I was around 16.

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Lifetime conundrum — 18 Comments


    I started ,smoking at seventeen so 64 + 17 sounds entirely acceptable to me. My father started smoking when he was eight and died aged 83, sohevdif a bit better than average. My mother, on the other hand did not start smoking until she was sixteen and working 12 hour shifts in a munitions factory, she died aged 67. I could be mistaken, but I see the haand of randomm chance at work here.





  2. I started at the age of 8, but didn't really become a regular smoker until I was 11 or 12. I'm 66 now. And I can still take stairs two at a time on the run. And in my youth (when I was a dedicated dope fiend) for a good number of years, I used to smoke chilums on a daily basis, which are to cigarettes what a volcano is to a small bonfire.

    In fact, in my 66 years, I haven't known anyone who died of a 'smoking related' disease. I've known a few who died of heart attacks, and a couple who died of cancer, but they were all never-smokers. Although I have known a couple of people who died in road accidents who were smokers; and I guess road accidents are now 'smoking related' deaths if the victim was a smoker. That seems to be the way of it these days. They like to blame everything you can imagine on smoking.

    "Ingrown toenails? That's the smoking that caused that. Your foot will fall off and you'll have to have your leg amputated if you don't quit now."

    My mother (a never-smoker) died at the age of 63. And she wasn't exposed to SHS either, as my father smoked a pipe only for a few years when he was in his twenties. He died aged 96. Smoking related, of course, from those pipe-smoking days.


      Well quite. Sorry about the typos, but I am using a virtual keyboard which, apparently, only does virtual English (of the random monkey variety). I know anecdote is not data, but the experience of everyone I know reflects yours and mine.

      • Virtual keyboard?  It doesn't exist in reality?  That would explain a lot.  Anyhows, you know what they say about the random moneys?  So keep typing – you only have an infinite number of years left.

      • Don't apologise for the typos – they're really rather entertaining, particularly when they're completely unintelligible.

        Virtual keyboard, eh? The mind boggles. I can do typos on a common or garden keyboard, never mind a virtual keyboard. I guess I must have a particular talent. And my ability to create typos seems to increase exponentially as the level in the bottle of red wine drops. This is something I must explore further. I may even be on the brink of an important scientific discovery.

        I like the 'Virtual English' theory. It could explain a lot of oddities I encounter in comments I read in online newspapers.

        • I forgot to say, I was particularly impressed with the "sohevdif" in your original comment. I'm a bit of a cryptic crossword aficionado, so that one will keep the grey cells ticking over for a while, being in the same genre. Sounds a bit Russian, but that may well be a red herring. I'll mull that one over.

  3. I have know a lot of people who have passed.  Causes of death were as random as pure chance, from murder, through car accidents to sheer old age.  Smoking had little or no relevance to age or cause of death.  I have known smokers who died of cancer and non-smokers who have suffered the same fate.  Certainly from my experience there is no pattern whatsoever.

  4. I think we are all date stamped anyway so don't worry about it, I know whatever kills me will be classed as smoking related to keep the figures up. Mum never smoker died at 72, her sister who smoked since 10 is still here at 90. 

  5. off topic, naturally, and being a tad nosey, naturally have you solved the new mouse problem?

    and what is the damned mini obelisk for?

  6. I heard an interview a few years ago with a 110-year old woman. Inevitably she was asked what she attributed her longevity to and, having clearly been asked little else that day, she said she had given up smoking. The interviewer fell for it instantly and asked when she had given up – “when I was 104” cackled the old crone.

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