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Old Sep 30, 2009, 12:58 PM   #1
tobeto
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Default The Beatles and cigarette smoking

The Beatles grew up in the heyday of smoking, and Liverpool was known to be inhabited with plenty of especially heavy smokers, even after English sixties smoking standards...
Unfortunately, smoking may lead to serious health problems, as we all know.

Known heavy smokers among people connected with the Beatles:

Their parent generation:
Aunt Mimi (source: Mendips National Trust guided tour host Colin Smith. And in Mendips, Mimi's silver cigarette casing is exhibited)
Harold Harrison (George's father) (died of smoking related disease)
Cynthia Powell's father (died of lung cancer when Cyn was a teenager)
Jim McCartney (photo of Jim smoking pipe in 20 Forthlin Road, and he died in a relatively young age of a smoking related disease - didn't he?)

The Beatles were all heavy smokers during the sixties
Neil Aspinall was also a heavy smoker.
Both George and Neil died of smoking related diseases.

In Liverpool in the fifites and sixties, they smoked everywhere. Buses, cinemas, bars, etc etc

I find it a bit fascinating - in a scary way - to learn how many of the sixties pop idols that smoked heavily... It looks cool to pose with a lighted cigarette, but the price to pay is of course high in the long run ...

I wonder:
At what age did typical Liverpudlians start smoking in the fifties?

How old were John, Paul and George when they started - does anyone know - is there any documentation about this?

Last edited by tobeto : Sep 30, 2009 at 01:03 PM.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 02:19 PM   #2
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I'm not sure, but probably in the Hamburg days or a bit earlier. A majority of the wives smoked, as well.
They were probably in their late teens when they started, I'd imagine.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 02:53 PM   #3
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The "nails"...
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 07:09 PM   #4
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I'd say late teens as well.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 07:43 PM   #5
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I'd be willing to bet they started smoking earlier than late teens. There was a kind of perverse thrill involved with smoking among some of my junior high peers, and I'll bet the same was true in Liverpool in the late 50s.
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 07:55 PM   #6
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In the anthology, dosen't Neil say him and George used to sneak off to the back for a smoke? They couldn't have been older then 14?

I don't think that was too uncommon back then...my grandfather started smoking when he was 8 for crying out loud..I don't think they were that aware of the side effects back then///
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Old Sep 30, 2009, 11:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pepperland Kamer View Post
In the anthology, dosen't Neil say him and George used to sneak off to the back for a smoke? They couldn't have been older then 14?

I don't think that was too uncommon back then...my grandfather started smoking when he was 8 for crying out loud..I don't think they were that aware of the side effects back then///
The first large official reports that indicated that smoking may cause cancer - widely published in the media - came in about 1964 i think. But there were reports of adverse side effects way before that, that many were aware of.

Think about all the cigarette smoke that John inhaled .. A lot of secondhand smoking in Mendips, as both Mimi and all her visiting sisters were heavy smokers.

Cynthia says that she spent half her scholarship in "buying ciggies for John". She met John when he was 17 of course. I guess he had been a smoker for a while already then.

The film people at Twickenham say the Beatles smoked all the time, and they had to put away a cigarette every time there was a take.

Think about the air quality in the van the Beatles and Neil travelled in during their criss-crossing of Britain in 1963 - 5 people smoking incessantly in a little compartement, hour after hour ... Paul and Ringo are lucky if they have avoided smoking related diseases.

Last edited by tobeto : Sep 30, 2009 at 11:26 PM.
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Old Oct 01, 2009, 10:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tobeto View Post
The first large official reports that indicated that smoking may cause cancer - widely published in the media - came in about 1964 i think. But there were reports of adverse side effects way before that, that many were aware of.
.
That was still long after my grandfather took his first puff...but even so just because the information is available dosen't mean everybody is aware of it or will heed the warning.
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Old Oct 01, 2009, 12:09 PM   #9
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in the 50's cigs are very in encouraged!
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Old Oct 01, 2009, 01:43 PM   #10
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As I've heard my grandma say, smoking was very "in style" at that time.
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Old Oct 02, 2009, 06:24 AM   #11
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I read that when John and Cynthia first started going out, they were always broke because John used all his money for cigarettes.

But, earlier than that, I read that when John and Paul first started wagging school to write songs, they smoked tea leaves in their fathers' pipes. Hm...
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Old Oct 02, 2009, 09:39 PM   #12
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A lot of smoking was going on among young teenagers in the 70's as well. Myjunior high school (13-16 year olds) allowed smoking at a designated place, if you had your parents permission, which not everyone had, of course. Several of my classmates were smokers at 13-14 years old so I would be surprise the lads weren't into it at that early age as well. The rumble had begun about the dangerous side effects but it wasn't the all out campains we see today and definitely no social stigma attached to it, rather, smoking was in.
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Old Oct 03, 2009, 06:57 AM   #13
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Did all the Beatles wives smoke as well?
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Old Oct 03, 2009, 10:05 AM   #14
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Not all of them. I believe Cynthia, Yoko, Linda (pot), and maybe Maureen and Barbara and Pattie. Not too entirely sure about the others.
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Old Oct 04, 2009, 09:54 AM   #15
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Isn't smoking still widely "accepted" in Europe? Not many resteraunts in North America have a designated smoking section.
I suppose times haven't changed since the '50s, because I always see gr.8s in the smoke pit at my high school. (13-14 years)
Also, I'm sure cigarettes are much worse today than the 50s.
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Old Oct 04, 2009, 10:11 AM   #16
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Contrary to popular belief, Europe isn't one unit. There are some countries, such as France and Denmark, where smoking is still very much accepted, while others have strict laws on where you can smoke. It all depends on where you are.
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Old Oct 05, 2009, 02:49 AM   #17
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Olivia doesn't smoke, does she?
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My Quote for George:
"A Butterfly Flying Around Me Saying Goodbye!"
(29/11/2001)
God Bless You, George... Love ya...


"GEORGE ! You just give me stripes, moustache and a smile... cause You're So Fine!"




Song to remember the Past: "In My Life"

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Old Mar 17, 2020, 11:34 AM   #18
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As for the electronic cigarette itself, for beginners, I can advise you to take a light, inexpensive cigarette www.knockoutcbd.com. If before that you have never tried CBD vape for electronic cigarettes, then this will be just right. I canít advise anything else, but if you have questions, ask, I will try to answer.
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