HIV sufferers get all the sympathy - while smokers are lectured
About four years ago, I was diagnosed with a pulmonary condition in the category known as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). The form it took was bronchiectasis, whereby the airways of the lungs were damaged, causing breathlessness, mucus and a tendency to pick up chest infections during winter.
And yes, it is all too evident what prompts many forms of COPD: the dreaded cigarette habit. From the age of 17, I puffed away on these aptly named coffin nails, often consuming two or three packets a day.
And, as a member of the "nation of extremists", as Diarmuid Ferriter has dubbed the Irish people, I had to smoke the fags with the strongest levels of nicotine, tar and all the rest.