A longstanding drinking companion was in touch yesterday. A 40/day smoker for 50 years, having reached the age of 80, the good lady admits she is slowing down. Last week I was introduced to a senior surgeon from one of our large teaching hospitals, a cigarette clamped between his lips. Many of his department colleagues smoked. “Helps us cope with the stress,” he said. I suspect regressive taxes have never been a barrier for either individual.