Where to go to the European smoker?

No, sovereign Pyotr Alekseevich would not go to Holland today, if he knew what they would do there with the substance he loved so much, the habit of which he forcibly instilled in Russia – tobacco. From July 1, the Dutch rode around the rest of Europe in terms of originality with a ban on smoking in restaurants, cafes, bars, transport, and other public places. In the Netherlands, where almost everything that is prohibited in other EU countries is allowed, tobacco was banned, but lovers were left with the right to freely “pull” clean marijuana. But if anyone decides to “beg” cannabis diluted with tobacco to any degree, then he will now be provided with a fine of up to 2 thousand 400 euros. The right to smoke is reserved only for marijuana puritans. Holland.

Since, according to statistics, it is adherents of “light marijuana”, that is, diluted with ordinary tobacco, in the country of mills and tulips, the majority, many owners of the famous Dutch coffee shops where such narcotic luxuries are allowed, are already preparing to “close the shops”. On the very first day of the ban, 1,600 coffee shop owners immediately announced the sale of the “business.”

To thank for all the anti-smoking misfortunes that hit Europe on a large scale only in 2006-2007, the Old World should always go against the current of the Irish. It was the Celts back in March 2004 who introduced a ban on smoking in such a revered institution as an Irish pub. Since then it has gone and gone – in full accordance with the “domino effect.” Greece, which claims that it belongs to her, is very disingenuous. Hellas did ban smoking in public places in 2002. But it did not apply to bars and restaurants and was generally respected since any ban in a country where they love and know how to live and have fun so well can be respected. Those. almost completely ignored. Not surprisingly, for the country where the smokest population of the European Union is concentrated: according to the latest data, 40% of the adult population smokes here. Ireland was followed by Norway, then Spain.

Incidentally, Russia can be considered a pan-European record holder for infatuation with a bad habit. Almost 67% of men and 40% of women smoke here. These statistics, of course, are not accurate, but undoubtedly impressive. Very poorly impressive. In April, we already acceded to the World Convention on Tobacco Control, which at that time already included 172 UN states. The Federation Council introduced a bill banning smoking in all public places for consideration by the Federal Assembly a few days ago. Now we have to wait until this law passes. Considering our smoking rati and our invisible but very strong tobacco lobby, like smoke through the lungs, it clearly will not leak through the Duma.

Another massive explosion of tobacophobia was noted in Europe from the beginning of 2007 and continued until the beginning of this year. During this period, Britain, Germany, France, Denmark, Portugal, and Turkey were included in the category of lepers. The level of fines in Europe for violating smoking taboos is very high. The most draconian in Britain – up to 2.5 thousand pounds.

The offensive on smokers in the British Isles went in the usual eccentric manner for the British. Everything seems to have been banned here, but allowed to smoke in prison cells, which, although they are a public place, were equated by the court with the “prisoner’s house” and an exception was made for them. When smoking was banned on the Isle of Man (it has a special administrative status) in a single prison for 90 people, all 90 prisoners went on a hunger strike and continued to smoke. When they ran out of tobacco, they began to smoke tea from the tea bags. The battle continues to this day.

Of the most famous violators of smoking bans, the representatives of the “Iberian tobacco culture” were the most distinguished. As recently as May of this year, Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Sokratis was “caught” with a cigarette in an airplane: he smoked in the first class of the Lisbon-Caracas flight, thinking that since he was there alone, no one would notice the smoke. I had to make a comment. A little earlier, “Spanish tobacco activists” caught Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero smoking in parliament. It also did without a fine.

The issue of smoking bans has now reached the point where smokers’ clubs are already being set up in many European countries, which in principle resemble the underground pubs of bootleggers in America during the Prohibition period: come in, smoke and drink as much as you like in the “zone free from bans”.

And the British even came up with the idea of ​​organizing “smoking tours”. There are fewer and fewer places for true lovers to take a rest. The former “smoking paradises” of France and Holland, most of Germany, have gone (here, smoking is still allowed in beer tents during Oktoberfest). But there is, there are still oases of smoke, where they do not shun the poor smoker. English tour operators offer smoking tours to Belgium (two hours by high-speed train from London). Switzerland, the only country in the world of direct democracy, is a pure paradise: smoking is prohibited here only in public places of the Ticino canton. Austria also continues to be the last hotbed of resistance to bans. Central and Eastern Europe (including us) in general are almost still “unconquered territories”.

In the end, you can go to the USA. Contrary to popular belief, the ban on smoking is valid only in 23 states, i.e. in the minority of 50. True, it’s a little expensive to trudge, but what can’t you do for the sake of a bad habit.

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