Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thank You For Not Smoking

Two days ago, Spain finally approved a law that would ban smoking in basically all closed public spaces (and even some open ones, like children areas in parks). This is years behind the rest of Europe and United States, and as it tends to be with these kind of laws coming into effect, certain part of the populace has shown an extreme resistance in complying with it.

Smoking was already banned in a lot of places, but the last big hurdle to be jumped was bars and restaurants. Until three days ago, you could not go out to eat to a fancy restaurant without coming out smelling like an ashtray (If you even dared go to a club, you would smell like chimney for a week). The main argument being that people enjoy eating and drinking while they smoke, so they should have the right to do so. And what about the people, like myself, that decidedly don't smoke, and decidedly don't like the smell of it? Well, you should have stayed at home if you don't like it. In the final days before the law came into place, and in the past few days, every dissenting opinion has come out and said that the new no-smoking law would hurt business. The argument being that people that used to come and smoke while they enjoyed their food and their drinks, would stop coming to the bars and restaurants. 


Smokers will get mad for the first months, then realize life goes on, and begrudgingly accept the reality that if they want to say they live in first world country, then perhaps they should start acting like one. Meanwhile, people like me, who hate the smell of cigarette (or cigar) smoke, will finally be able to enjoy a meal without having the noxious smell of tobacco hanging around your person even after you exited the place you were in. As it was before, I only ever went to bar and restaurants when I either knew people couldn't smoke in there (as it was the case with restaurants inside shopping malls) or when there was absolutely no option.

Needless to say, and in case you haven't grabbed the subtext from my negative tone towards the subject, I hate smoking. It's a terrible habit that damages untold amount of lives, not just those of smokers. Speaking of which, remember when Joe Quesada, then editor of Marvel Comics, decided to ban smoking from being portrayed in their comics (particularly when it was heroes like Wolverine or The Thing)? I know people like to get up in arms about, but I honestly think it was good moral decision (if not a wise story telling one) and I hope it made a difference, no matter how small.


  1. They only just instituted a smoking ban in Milwaukee this summer, so you're not TOO far behind the U.S. I used to live in Illinois, and they had a smoking ban about a year earlier...it was wonderful and I was ecstatic when I heard they were going to do it where I live now too. It's great to be able to hang out in bars and restaurants without smelling like an ashtray now.

    As for the smoking ban in Marvel comics, I have mixed feelings. Like you, I detest smoking in real life. I've never smoked anything in my life, and never will. But I didn't mind seeing it in comics...even as a kid, it never struck me as odd that Wolverine and Gambit were constantly puffing away, it was just a part of their characters. Both are seedy, grimy sort of guys a lot of the time, so it made sense.

    Plus, I was never the kind of kid who saw things like that and instantly wanted to try it myself. Maybe there are more impressionable kids out there, though, and if that's the case, I can see the rationale behind the decision.

  2. @Marc: See, that's interesting. I knew it was a state-by-state issue (as most cases tend to be in the US), but when I lived in Florida, it was banned in bars and restaurants for sure, but you could still smoke in clubs and late night bars.

    As for the Marvel thing, I think there are plenty of impressionable children. Not to say that all of them will see smoking in a comic and decide to pick up the habit, but some would, I'm sure.

  3. I'm not sure which states have a total ban and which don't...I'm just happy to be living in one that does! Hopefully all the states will have that policy in effect someday.