A builder who broke his ankle in three places has been refused an operation by doctors - because he smokes.
Gutted John Nuttall, 57, fractured his joint while at work but medics have told him he cannot undergo surgery.
They say unless he gives up his 20-a-day habit he will not be eligible for an operation.
....John, of Newlyn, Cornwall, said: "I'm in agony. I can feel the bones grating. "I've begged them to operate but they won't. I've tried my hardest to give up smoking but I can't.
...."We've paid our stamps all our lives and now we're being shut out of the NHS."
....A spokesman for the Royal Cornwall Hospital confirmed Mr Nuttall's operation had been postponed because of "issues relating to nicotine".
He said: "Smoking has a very big influence on the outcome of this type of surgery and the healing process would be significantly hindered."
In June the then health secretary Patricia Hewitt ruled that doctors could deny smokers operations unless they give up smoking for at least four weeks.
Patients' groups argue the move is more about saving money than improving care. The ruling is expected to affect 500,000 patients this year.