An unhealthful habit

The interview with Nicolaides was the first time in my career as Post health and science reporter that I did an interview in a fume-filled smoking room. His schedule changed on the day we were to meet, and instead of coming to the smoke-free King David Hotel, I was asked to rush to a café near the Hebrew University's Mount Scopus campus. The main section was filled with noisy students, but I preferred that to the separate smoking room nearby. Nicolaides, well dressed in a dark suit and constantly fielding phone calls in Greek, pointed to the smoking section to sit down. Having worked for years to detect Down syndrome in fetuses, he noted aloud with interest that the lovely young waitress was born with it. He pulled out a packet of Marlboros and proved to be a genuine chain smoker, lighting up another one almost immediately after finishing the previous "coffin nail." Watching him puffing away along with those at the other tables, I very reluctantly agreed to the interview there. "But your father died of lung cancer!" I pleaded, suggesting nicotine patches, pills and other techniques to kick the habit. "Yes, he died of it 10 years ago," the famous son said of the man he so much admired. Admitting he was severely addicted to nicotine, Kypros shrugged and said he just couldn't stop.