If ever there was a good time to quit a bad habit it's now.
I am referring, of course, to smoking - that aberration in our drug laws that only allows a legal killer to remain because its grip on mankind started so long ago and lawmakers can't figure out a way of enforcing a total ban on it, without causing untold bloodletting not to mention a loss in government revenue.
Whereas I sympathise with tobacco addicts who feel they are powerless to quit, I would point out the coming price hikes for cigarettes is a great opportunity to redouble their resolve to finally get rid of the monkey on their back.
New Year's Day is D-Day for price increases, a rather cynical date that ties in with resolutions but it is said to be only one of many expected price increases.
If money alone is not a spur to quit then couple it up with the near surety of failing health, or premature death from smoking.
And if that combination doesn't do the trick I suggest smokers resort to a more unorthodox means of shaking off the urge - get a transcript of a comedy skit produced years ago by American comedian Bob Newhart.
It's available on the web and is a spoof of a supposed telephone conversation between Sir Walter Raleigh trying to introduce tobacco to England and the head of the West Indies Company.
These few lines should give you some insight into what I mean:
"You can chew it, or put it in a pipe. Or you can shred it up and put it in a piece of paper, ha!ha!ha! and roll it up, ha!ha!ha!
"Don't tell me Walt, don't tell me. You stick it in your ear, right?
"Oh, between your lips and you set fire to it. Ha!ha!ha!
"You inhale the smoke huh.
"You know Walt, you can stand in front of your fireplace and have the same thing going for you.
"Y'see Walt, I think you're going to have a rather tough time selling people on sticking burning leaves in their mouths."
So smokers, those lines should do the trick for you.