I know smoking is bad but I do miss it with gin and tonic

Life without gin wouldn't be any good, says James (Picture: Getty)

Life without gin wouldn't be any good, says James (Picture: Getty) - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Herbal, cucumber, aromatic, London, Cornish, rhubarb, sloe – it's all over the place these days and we are drinking more and more of the stuff, according to just about everyone.

You can't order a gin and tonic these days without a barrage of questions about what sort you'd like. There are even specialist Gin menus popping up all over the place to tempt you to some new taste sensation.

With just enough tonic to make it fizzy, there's really nothing finer though is there, than an early evening gin and tonic, and then another one, to take the rough edge off a long day.

Gin is so versatile as a sundowner, a stiffner, a sherbert, a bevvy, a slurp , a tipple – bliss.

Of course you can't drink these days without the banning police – as I like to call them – telling you about the dangers of over consumption and a litany of things that can go wrong.

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Nothing is guilt free these days, not even a quick sharpener.

It's so depressing.

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Though not as depressing as going on a diet. That's worse. And that's why I don't do it, a no crisp diet gets me anxious

Anyway I've got enough on with trying not to drink too much without dieting as well.

Not smoking is enough.

I'm glad I'm not Australian. I wouldn't want the accent to start with and it seems the banning police are pretty powerful there.

In fact, you can barely smoke there at all. Not near a playground, or within 4 metres of a public building, not on the beach, or in jail – let alone a workplace or a And in a few years time it will cost nearly £24 a packet, a fact that must begin to put off even the most ardent smoker.

Though I'm not an Australian, I have been on the nicotine patches in my latest bid to kick the habit.

For me giving up is an ongoing process, so ongoing I've been giving up for years now and keep trying, which according to the literature, and I've read most of it, isn't such a bad thing.

But despite managing on the patches, I miss smoking like the deserts miss the rain.

There I've said it.

I quite like waking up being able to breathe noticeably more easily, I quite like having more money at the end of the week, I quite like being able to climb stairs – well one flight – without too much drama, I even like not having to douse myself in aftershave in a futile attempt to disguise the smell, but I still miss my smokes.

I know smoking is dangerous and nasty and all those things, I know no one lets you use an ashtray in their front room anymore, I know smoking is shameful and anti-social, but still.

Is it really that bad? If it was surely the taxation on a packet of twenty could easily be increased to make it completely unaffordable and no government has done that so far.

On a frosty morning, after a sumptuous meal, with a coffee, without a coffee, with a friend, when alone, when stressed, when relaxed, smoking is lovely.

And I'm fed up with being told what to do.

The banning police are showing no signs of giving up though are they? With their constant advice and paternalism, it's a wonder we have any lifestyle choices left at all.

If you want to smoke, smoke, if you want to drink, drink,

Of course, despite saying all this I don't really want to smoke any more, its bad for you and I can tell it doesn't do me much good.

I miss it though, I miss it most of all with a gin and tonic because smoking and drinking together are one of life's great pleasures, whatever anyone else says.

And Australia isn't all it's cracked up to be anyway, I lived there once and it was ever so hot. And too much sun can't be that good for you either.

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