Smoking can be harmful to Canadian spies

Jeff Editor

From the Editor’s Desk

Jeff Gaye

I don’t know what the statistics are for smokers vs non-smokers in various countries or their militaries. I know Canada has made a lot of progress over the years in preventing young people from starting to smoke and helping smokers to quit.

I’ve never smoked, and I don’t know much about tobacco. But I remember one of the tell-tale signs that Maple Flag was underway used to be the smell of foreign cigarettes around town.

American and European cigarettes smell different from each other, but Canadian tobacco seems to be another thing altogether. While other countries’ brands have a strong smell vaguely reminiscent of cigar smoke, Canadian cigarettes seem — to me, anyway — to just have an ashen smell not unlike burning paper, sticks and lawn clippings.

And I’m not saying one is better. I personally don’t like any of them. But I’ve sometimes wondered why Canadian brands are so completely different from the rest of the world’s tobacco.

Smoking seems to be an enduring habit among soldiers — ironic considering the emphasis that military members otherwise place on fitness, health and nutrition. But my health advice to any Canadian intending to be an undercover spy behind enemy lines is if you can’t quit, at least change your brand. Those cigarettes will give you away as soon as you light up.