There’s no smoke…

LAST UPDATED: 23 Feb, 2011 @ 10:48
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There’s no smoke…

MY heart went out to the Marbella restrateur who, perhaps a trifle foolishly, decided that enough was enough and that he would actively not enforce the smoking ban (that came into effect in Spain in January) in his restaurant.

I have never had the good fortune to meet the chap himself, someone who goes by the name of José Eugenio Arias, but he has my undying respect for fighting what is already a lost battle.

One has to admire the man’s conviction to his cause – though he may soon receive a conviction of another sort.

The prospect of a 140,000 Euro fine and closure of his restaurant has not stopped him travelling the country drumming up support and collecting many thousands of signatures to a petition which, I assume, at some point he will present to the government in an attempt to have the ban lifted. I can assure him that it won’t be.

As a seasoned and enthusiastic user of a wide range of tobacco products I was surprised when wowsers in the UK followed the example of their American cousins and persuaded the government to ban smoking in most public spaces.

Although it started with places of work it has now spread to places of entertainment and, in both environments, we smokers have ended up like lepers on the pavement.

For goodness sake, the Irish have banned smoking in pubs! Even the Italians have followed suit with government-sponsored orgies permitted as long as nobody lights up a cigarette.

They’ve taxed us to the hilt, tried to scare us with toxic slogans and driven cigarettes and cigars under the counter – prohibition must be the next step.

The reason I know that José’s battle is lost is because the legislators, and the wowsers who spur them on, have absolutely no doubt in their minds that they are imposing this regulation upon us for our own good – segregation of the lepers is not enough, they must be cured.

However, José is lucky that he only has the Spanish government and the international anti-smoking conspiracy to contend with. The dining room at Bartie Hall has also been declared a no smoking zone and I have to face up to The Lady Bartie!

9 COMMENTS

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  1. Imagine its Madrid 2050,

    excerpts from the Smoking Revolutionary Handbook:

    “A sunny day in Malaga Feb/2011 ………… Good Ol Smoking Comrade Merry Beker holding up the nicotine stained flag in her smelly & shaky hands as she humbly hobbles across Plaza de la Revolution on her one remaining smokers leg > oxygen deprived wheezing “Death to all the NoN Smoking fascist suppressors who just wont lets us pest them in anymore”

    “Viva el humo Viva” …… and so the story goes

  2. Well Bartie, You may be a smoker but your article has all the hallmarks of an anti-tobacco propaganda press release. They will use ANY tactic to force their will on a reluctant public.

    Your article gives the impression that only one person in Spain is fighting this oppression when, from the information I have received, many Spanish bars and restaurants are refusing to comply. José Eugenio Arias is merely the one person, openly flouting the law, who has been selected for the Soviet style ‘show trial’ and the example to be made to frighten everyone else into compliance.

    You give the impression that the battle against this bad law is already lost and try to give the impression that everywhere in Europe has the same smoke ban laws as those they want to enforce in Spain.

    Nothing could be further from the truth!
    You mention Italy as an example of smoke ban law ‘success’, but there, if bar owners etc. comply with defined ventilation requirements, then up to 50% of a premises can be SMOKING. Britain Ireland and Norway DO have very strict smoke ban laws but, while EVERYWHERE ELSE in Europe may have varying restrictions such as room size, compulsory ventilation, where food is served etc smokers ARE always catered for. Greece have widely ignored their law – bar owners en-block put ashtrays back on tables, days after their smoke ban was implemented!

    Spain’s new smoking law is now the strictest in Europe and there is little doubt that anti-tobacco will do all they can to break the will of the Spanish and bring them ‘to heel’. Spain is the scalp anti-tobacco are desperate to hang in the trophy cabinet and if the Spanish surrender to this bad law, it is they who will be held up as the gold standard that anti-tobacco require elsewhere in Europe!

    Proclaiming ‘success’ that has been invented and false inevitability are Lord Haw Haw style tactics intended to isolate and demoralise smoke ban opponents. He failed and so will this new breed, however, dealing with The Lady Bartie is another thing!

  3. The Greeks, as Vellocatus ahs already mentioned, have laughed successive attempts at a ban out of existence and Croatia, Macedonia and Bulgaria have similarly disposed of theirs after brief and unprofitable attempts. Protests and solidarity in the Netherlands have led to a softening in that pragamtic and tolerant country. So don’t count Spain (or even Ireland) out just yet. We “enjoyed” 13 years of alcohol prohibition in the US and its proponents crowed that it was here to stay. It wasn’t. As they say in New Orleans, “You can make it illegal, but you can’t make it unpopular.”

  4. Ask yourselves why you smoke (or chew or snuff the stuff). Easy answer, you’re addicted, you mugs. You’re addicted to the most unrewarding,costly rubbish that was ever foisted on humanity in the name of pleasure.The spurious “freedom to choose” argument does not hold water.Smokers are addicts, they have no “freedom to choose” any more than any other type of junkie does.The only “pleasure” a nicotine addict gets from their fix, is a relief from the insidious craving that nicotine causes.The public smoking ban has been a boon in the U.K.We can go in our local for a pint now and not come home an hour later needing a shower and change of clothes. Nobody lights up at the next table in a restaurant and spoils the meal we have just begun.You see, my gasping, coughing friends, not to put too fine a point on it, you all stink. Honestly, you do. You and the poor souls you fumigate are just used to it. Like the heros who work disposing of our waste, nature is kind enough to gloss over the pong.The benefits of a smoking ban are legion, buses, taxis, waiting rooms etc.everywhere,smoke-free.All that’s left, is to stop poisoning children and passengers (and smokers) in cars.That’s the next battleground to be won and won it will be. We non-smokers are in the majority now, Democracy rules O.K.? Of course, prohibition is no answer, it has never been called for, We simply want you to keep it to yourselves and not force your poison on others.We don’t see you as “lepers” just foolish and a damned nuisance.

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