SINCE he was six years old, Allan Smith has been a smoker.
In December last year, the 52-year-old was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, which has spread to his lymph nodes.
On Thursday, he will begin his first round of chemotherapy, which he hopes will prolong his life past the two to three year prognosis doctors have advised.
Now, he is willing people to kick the habit.
“My uncles taught me to smoke –it was the in thing back then; if you didn’t have a fag hanging out of your mouth you weren’t cool,” Mr Smith said.
“But I would advise people not to smoke, I really would.”
Since being diagnosed, Mr Smith has felt alienated from many of those closest to him.
“A lot of people I know won’t come near me now, they don’t know what to say to me because I have cancer,” he said.
“My sister is my only family I have left and I don’t know what to say to her, I don’t know how to tell her I’ve only got a few more years left.”
Mr Smith was kicked out of home at 14 and lived on the streets.
He’s had a tough life, battled drug and alcohol addiction and even lost his son at just six months old.
But he’s not bitter.
“I’ve had no symptoms at all, I’m not in any pain – I reckon I can get 20 more years yet,” he said.
“They say you’re put on this earth for a purpose and until I find that purpose, no-one’s getting me.”
When it comes to banning smoking altogether though, Mr Smith disagrees.
A Melbourne councillor has floated the idea of banning smoking from all public areas in the CBD – a plan which was instigated in Orange three years ago.
“You can’t ban it, it’s life. You can’t have people telling you how to run your life,” Mr Smith said.
“The more you try and persuade people not to do something, the more defiant they get.”
Griffith councillor Pat Cox said such a scheme was unlikely to be introduced to this city.
“It’s certainly not on our horizon,” Cr Cox said.
“It’s still legal to buy cigarettes and I don’t think we’d get across-the-board support.”