Quarter Life Crisis

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No Smoking

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In addition to the debate on Incest, there’s also a fun debate on non-smoking coming up. While I’m quite generous at tolerating smokers – thanks to growing up in a smoking house I suppose – I’m generally not a big fan of the smells spread by smokers. On the other hand, having many smokers as friends, I sometimes find non-smoking policies a bit overzealous and unfriendly. They can really spoil the atmosphere at a place by making people run outside to have a smoke all the time.

So far we could do without rigorous smoking bans in Germany. Smoking is prohibited in a number of places. And it is allowed in others. And the smokers aren’t exactly doing much to support their habit. That’s most notable at the railway. By now many railway stations are non-smoking stations. Which I find quite absurd. It means that only a small section of the open air railway platform is a dedicated smoking section.

On the trains, there are smoking coaches. And those can be quite disgusting. So disgusting, in fact, that the smokers themselves don’t want to sit there. So they’ll sit in a non-smoking coach and just go over for a cigarette. But because there’s nobody booking seats in the smoking coaches, the railway says they’ll reduce smoking coaches even further – leaving people with a single massively disgusting coach on some trains. Which is quite funny – unless the guy sitting next to you is one of those smokers sitting in non-smoking who’ll smell like an exhaust when returning. Until recently they had made the mistake to allow smoking in the on-board bistro. Which made the place smell like a disgusting pub because of all the smokers not wanting to go to the smoking coach… fun.

Anyway, now they are discussing legislation to ban smoking in restaurants and other places. Just to make things more fun, each state can have a say on that matter. While it seems that they agreed on the basic facts, somehow the frigtards (oops, that’s not a word, is it?) of our local government started mumbling about giving people the possibility to label their places as ‘smoking restaurants’ as well.

Err, what? I really don’t consider myself a non-smoking zealot. But if you claim to pass anti-smoking legislation, you can’t give people the choice. People already have the choice today. They can easily declare their restaurants to be non-smoking [well, I don’t actually know the legal details about this, but I suppose that if it’s my restaurant I can decide whether it’s OK to smoke there or not – and even if I legally couldn’t, just putting signs there should do the job anyway]. So passing a law leaving such a ‘choice’ would just be a waste of time and paper.

February 28, 2007, 0:14

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