Monday, 2 February 2015

Junior European Smoking Champions

If God wanted me to smoke He would have put a chimney in my head. 

Years of gasping for a smoke
Till like a frog my voice did croak.

I  kicked the habit. Saw the joke. 
(And now detest the smell of smoke).

N was my friend! "I've stopped!" he said. 
Death took both legs, and then the bloke.


There is a mild smoking debate going on here in Austria. Recently released is the statistic that more young people smoke here than in any other European country.

Many youngsters do not realize that smoking can cause many debilitating and dangerous illnesses and diseases apart from lung cancer.

To address the statistic of shame, the government is considering a ban on smoking in bars and cafes. This, unfortunately, may take some time.

Not very long ago laws were supposedly brought in which resulted in customers being segregated into smokers and non-smokers and there was much expenditure on adapting premises.

However, these so-called laws quickly became something of a joke and were in the main blatantly ignored.

I can recall, for example, watching a football match on TV in the so-called No Smoking section of a pub, when a dozen men entered the room and started smoking. The landlord was quickly there to remove the offending No Smoking signs and distribute the ashtrays.

There used to be a joke on the English language radio station FM4:
To those who say Austria always lags behind, we say that we are now on your heels.

Sadly, the poem tells a true story.

'Rest in peace' NP.


  1. You are well behind your European cousins. Now the only place to smoke is in the street and if you live in Bristol you soon wont be able to do that. The street becomes the outdoor ashtray and the huddle around the bar.

  2. When I was in a pub in Dublin I noticed that all the smokers took their smoking breaks outside the pub at the same time. In fact one of them asked me if I would mind his place and naturally I said I would. They all returned about 20-30 minutes later. I remarked that it doesn't take that long to smoke a cigarette. No, he explained it's not about the cigarette, it's a social thing and outside we talk about different things than we do in the pub. It all seemed a little schizophrenic at the time but it seemed to work. I noticed that the pubs provided communal outdoor ashtrays. It's gradually coming in Austria in more and more bars and restaurants as they realize than a clean smoke free environment attracts customers who like to actually taste their food and drink and not their neighbour's smoke residue and they are learning from the experience that this is in fact good for business. Of course there are still bars etc. where people huddle on barstools and you can cut the air with a knife. You have to put a sign on the door. A green cigarette means it's ok to smoke, a red cigarette means it's not allowed to smoke, and a red and green cigarette combination means rooms for smokers and non-smokers. In my experience non-smokers have to wade through smoke to reach sanctuary in a second rate back room with less prospect of decent service.

  3. When I said "you have to put a sign on the door" I meant the proprietor has to put a sign on the door. ;)

  4. It all means that the streets have become unpleasant areas where smokers rush along with burning cigarettes in mouths or hands. On the train in the morning I see the smokers clutching cigarettes as well as their ticket when waiting for the train to come into the station so that they can light up the minute they leave the railway premises. I find it very unpleasant walking through their smoke.

  5. I even saw a driver with a fag in one hand and a phone in the other while driving a car probably to pick up some kids from a school nearby

  6. In Ohio, at least, I have been very grateful for the public smoking ban. Although I chafe at the idea of across-the-board banning of anything, I do enjoy going to restaurants and even bars and not smelling of cigarette smoke when I return home.

    Being in Austria, your smoking friends may be in luck. Apparently, higher altitudes lower the overall rick of lung cancer (

  7. Vegahelp, Today we walked into a smoke filled cafe and I immediately started coughing. Needless to say we quickly turned heel and went to find a place with clean air.
    But I agree with you about not forcing everybody into a straightjacket with the proviso that everybody should have the legal entitlement to work in a smoke free environment, and that goes for bar staff too.


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