I don’t see the contradiction. Of course, it is quite possible that for some people, when they’re on their death bed, choking in their mucus, there will be palpable regret that they smoked for so long, thus shortening their lives and making their final years less than comfortable.

But it is equally possible that they realize the pleasure they derived from each one of the half a million or more cigarettes they enjoyed vastly outweighs the cost of that choice: dying maybe 15 years earlier than otherwise, and spending their last few months spluttering through life, with an oxygen pipe up their nose and only being able to shuffle behind a rollator.

What I was saying is: we cannot know. It is not because you or I would prefer to avoid such an end to our lives, and to that end foregoing the pleasure of a nicotine fix 30 times a day, that this is everyone’s choice.

Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius