Most New Years we see a brief rush of punters resolved finally to sort out their smoking / diet / other general health issues. They jam up the surgery for a week or so, competing for appointments with the dyspeptically over indulged and the early winter lurgy sufferers. Then they either relapse or decide they don’t need our help, and it all calms down again.
Not so this year. Oh no. Not by a long chalk. Still they come in their nicotine tarnished droves, wreathed in the smoke of their fiftieth absolutely-the-last-fag-I’m-ever-smoking-honest. I reckon I must have passively taken in the equivalent of a pack a day for the past three weeks, and it’s starting to make me feel a bit dizzy and sick rather like Virgil Tibbses (what is the correct possessive form of Tibbs I wonder?) son in the movie.
So why the sudden stampede of fumeurs desperate to quit? I hear you ask.
Well it’s all the “fault” of Her Brittanic Majesties Government. After nigh on a decade of prevarication they have finally decided to take the plunge and ban all smoking in public places from this coming July. At the same time day-time TV has been bigging up a new wonder drug to help quitters.
The only tiny problem with this is that no-one has bothered to actually tell us poor Tommies in the trenches about it. Good old Google informs me that it might well be called Champix, and that it probably is now licensed for NHS prescribing. But nowhere on our state-of-the-art clinical system with prescribing support software, bells, whistles and unicycling performing mice* is there any really useful information about how it should be prescribed or taken, what its mode of action might be (apparently, according again to Google, it makes smoking so boring people descend into a pit of hopelessness and despair and just quit) or indeed its side effects or interactions.
I do hope it will turn out to be better than Zyban (the last smoking cessation wonder drug- you remember, the one where the manufacturers sent round the helpful circular three months after the granting of the license saying “we know fifty odd patients have died taking our drug, but we reckon thirty of them at least would have died anyway, and at least most of them had stopped smoking like we said they would…”**).
Sorry must stop now, I feel a craving coming on.
Just send in the next smoker please!
* I think I might have hallucinated that last one. Pity, they were bloody clever performing mice too.
** O.K. they were a bit more scientific in their explanation, but that was the gist.