Many of my friends smoke – at the bar, on the balcony of a friend’s shared apartment, in the parking lot after training. I got used to it. From time to time I even smoke in the pub in the evening. In recent months, however, I have heard more and more often in these situations a promise that seems to me to be a self-delusion. Many of my friends and acquaintances – who, like me, will soon be 30 – have announced that they want to quit smoking soon.

The common theory is that if you quit smoking before your 30th birthday, your body will fully recover from years of smoking. As if the number 30 were some kind of sound barrier behind which the long-term damage to health caused by smoking is only just beginning. Is this really possible? A few conversations and studies later, it becomes clear that there is actually more than just an excuse. But one after the other.