Smokers Get the Blues; Fag-Free Day Has Its 'Dangers'

Article excerpt

NO Smoking Day appears to have a lot in common with Friday the 13th for people trying to give up cigarettes, according to a new study .

Researchers found a significant increase in the number of reported workplace accidents on the second Wednesday in March which, since 1984, has been the day when up to two million try to quit smoking.

Writing in the journal Nature, they suggested that nicotine withdrawal was making people accident prone by affecting their "psychomotor performance".

However, the article led to an unusual attack on Nature, one of the world's most respected scientific journals, from anti-smoking campaigners.

Ash (Action on Smoking and Health) has accused the journal of "silly" trivialising of nicotine addiction in its promotion.

Its Press release, which contained a brief summary of the research, was headlined "Not Smoking Is Bad For You".

Ash director Clive Bates said: "It's as if there's a blind spot about the world's most widespread source of mass addiction. If the study had been about withdrawal from heroin, Nature wouldn't joke about it, and no-one would suggest that heroin is good for you, even for fun."

The research was carried out by Andrew Waters and colleagues, of the National Addiction Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry, London. They used as their yardstick the number of non-fatal accidents reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Workplace accidents resulting in major injury or a person having to take more than three days sick leave have by law to be reported to the HSE. …