I was sad to read about the recent death of Richard Briers the other week.  For some of us of a certain age he represents one of the national treasures of British TV.  However the end of his 79 year old life came it is suggested because of his smoking habit.   He certainly was a very heavy smoker and he had in fact estimated that over a lifetime had smoked close to half a million ciggies.    He did give up around ten years ago but it seems that it was too late, his later years were rather wasted as he was pretty much breathless most of the time.

The cause was the familiar dread of most smokers, emphysema.  It was enough to scare him into stopping but unfortunately the damage was already done.  This isn’t to say that giving up doesn’t have it’s benefits whenever you do it.  For example Briers lived quite a long time with the disease because he managed to give up.  Only last year he was in a British movie although his character was wheelchair bound!

Giving up smoking even when you are diagnosed with emphysema at it’s terminal stage can certainly reduce some of the harmful effects.  If diagnosis is at an earlier stage often giving up is the only treatment needed.  This is perhaps one of the sobering thoughts that the only treatment for a horrible, killer disease is to simply stop smoking cigarettes.

It’s so sad to see such a wonderful actor go.  His biggest success at least in the UK was a show called the Good Life which featured a couple opting out of the rat race to become self sufficient.  You can still catch many of the shows on Youtube and hopefully they are to be repeated on the BBC and the BBC Iplayer.  If you live outside the UK then this site – can show you how to watch UK TV – http://www.uktv-online.com/.  It’s quite a simple process and I’ve been using it for years to stay in touch and watch the BBC news from my new home in Spain.