Tuesday 1 July 2008

Only In Holland...

The Dutch smoking ban seems to be proving more absurd than most - and is being pretty fiercely criticised, if not openly resisted, in that traditionally smoke-wreathed land. Good for the Dutch. The French, I was saddened to observe, seem now to have knuckled under with positively Teutonic thoroughness.
The idea of 'smoking chambers', off-limits to staff (the 'risk' to whose health was the ostensible reason for the ban), seems an excellent one - as was the idea of effectivley air-conditioned smoking areas. But oh no, it had to be a ban. And since then the process of 'denormalising' smoking has continued apace. As I've always said, drinking will be next...


  1. The French haven't really knuckled under, as I discovered in Paris a few months ago. My old pals are all still smokers, so I asked them, "How do you deal with not being able to smoke in cafes?" They soon showed me. Every cafe and bistro, even on the coldest day, had lots of tables set up outside and those free-standing heaters that look like streetlamps. The French smokers were all shivering outside, but happily inhaling their Gauloise smoke.

    Sophie and Francois had been horrified to discover the same rules did not apply when they visited California last year. They were in an outdoor cafe in Berkeley (this really upset them, as they think of Berkeley as a place of great freedom) when they were told to douse their cigs. "But we are outside!" Francois said. Too bad. No smoking in Berkeley air.

    I think people who are used to oppression coming from the right wing are especially amazed when it comes with force from the left....

  2. That was my experience in Paris last week as well. The number of cigarette butts littering sidewalks everywhere we went was impressive. While I've noticed many smokers here in Nige's leafy Holland Park this week, the streets are remarkably clean by any standard. (Berkeley, btw, is almost as filthy as Paris.)

  3. They're employing 200 inspectors to check joints don't have tobacco in them.

    Oh. My. Fucking. God. This is depressing. I hate hate hate the EU more now than ever.

  4. For me Paris will never be the same, what next, banning dogs from crapping?
    Chuck, just to tickle your ribs even further, latest from the UK "Health and Safety Executive", every tree in the land has to be checked by a "professional tree person" for its "integrity", charging you for the privilege of course, we are re categorizing our (many) trees as " vertically installed growing columns, brown and green in colour."
    Susan, UK shop assistants are now standing around in sub arctic conditions like lepers, drawing on their rain soaked fags. The Government will eventually ban shop assistants from the NHS, too much of a strain on the finances, treating their influenza.
    We had one rat faced creep of an MP, called Banks who forced through a total ban on fox hunting for no other reason than class hatred, although it must be said that the fox hunting toffs are a revolting bunch, no need to ban their sport, Banks happily died prematurely before he could do any more damage, fishing was next, cruel sport.

  5. My hospital employs a Smoking Patrol Officer whose sole duty is to walk about the hospital admonishing people who he catches smoking on the premises. So far, according to the latest staff circular, he has been threatened and abused by 'both staff and members of the public'.

    Forty odd years ago my father ran a hospital ward and would by all accounts puff his pipe as an essential part of the diagnostic process.

  6. Absolutely Elberry, my mother was a district nurse working for a surgery of two doctors, she smoked sixty a day, the doctors eighty each, combined total, 220, the joke was "I can smell you've been to the doctors" The reason that there was no MRSA in those days was because the nicotine zapped the bugs.
    Germans being what Germans are No 132. The Horst Schmidt Klinik in Weisbaden mid January, late evening, outside temperature is minus fifteen, has been for ten days. The hospital has an excellent roof garden, filing out through the doors, patient after patient, in dressing gowns, many connected to drip trolleys, pushing them ahead, glass of wine or beer in the other hand, the hospital has an excellent restaurant, their ghostly outline can be seen through the windows, puffing joyously on their Marlboroughs.