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Smoking terrorism

January 4, 2008

Despite the fact I have smokers amongst my friends, I couldn’t resist to rant a little bit about smokers (“terrorism” is currently a buzzword in Belgium and in the world, so I put it in the title). While some smokers I know understand that “One’s freedom stops where others’ freedom starts“, I am about to think that many of the smokers are still thinking they are the only ones on this planet and, if one dares to complaint, they will grumble, act as if they are victim of some sort of segregation or, worse, retaliate.

In Belgium, a law forbids to smoke in public areas. But it’s allowed in some restaurants and bars where you have a clear separation between the two areas (smokers and non smokers) and enough ventilation (for both parts). For lunch, we decided to stop on a terrace of some well-known restaurant in Liège (Belgium). The waiter guaranteed us that the “tent” (on the terrace) was a non-smoking zone. Of course, after 30 minutes, 5 to 7 smokers were already drinking, eating and smoking … But well, I didn’t mind too much since there was enough air for everybody (I can bear some smoke). England goes smoke-free. by Patrick Mayon on Flickr Then one young lady sat next to me and took a cigarette out of her bag. I kindly asked if it was possible for her not to smoke for some time since 1. it was supposedly not allowed there, 2. I didn’t want to inhale smoke while eating my lunch and 3. a pregnant woman was sitting nearby (and passive smoking is also bad for pregnancy). The girl looked at me as if I asked for an impossible mission, as if I was very rude, as if I hurt her deep ego, as if I was some kind of tyrant, as if I was mentally torturing her. She said rude words and threw verbal abuses (in French; fortunately for you, I don’t know their translation in English). Before I had the opportunity to reply, her friend told her I was reacting like one of their male friend who is taking care of a pregnant lady, if I correctly understood. They both got up and went to sit a few tables further. (I’m not describing the dark looks the young lady sent when she was leaving the tent before us)

Walking for a few minutes in the city afterwards, I noticed a lot of Belgians are actually smoking everywhere (“Welcome to the real world” you could say). Most of them hardly care where they exhale their smoke (in the air or on a passer-by who didn’t ask anything, what’s the difference?). Can’t they just take care a little bit of other people?

Photo credit: “England goes smoke-free.” by Patrick Mayon on Flickr (license CC by-nc-nd)

From → My life

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