Defying The Ban!


Well it's Thursday and I have already defied the smoking ban twice. I didn't particularly fancy a fag at the time but appeasing my inner adolescent took precedence and I sparked up. I must say I'm thoroughly enjoying my new status as the living embodiment of pure evil. I've been meeting all sorts of fine people in the various smokers corners that have sprung up round the city. My favourite thus far was the women who stood beside me and paused between puffs to announce that 'this (the ban) is a fuckin disgrace, Ah feel like a bloody leopard, hen'. This pleased me more than I can convey in mere words, not least because I love being called hen and will be sorry when I get old enough to be a missus'.

I've also had my best ever run in with a non-smoker. My previous favourite was when
a mad woman came up to me and gloated that 'all you young girls think you're so cool with your smoking but it gives you wrinkles and there's nothing cool about that'. I couldn't help but note that the women herself was very wrinkled and asked if that's what had happened to her. She wasn't too pleased and stated huffily that she was fifty-five years of age. That's when things turned nasty. I pointed out that my mother was fifty-seven and hardly had any wrinkles, so asked again what had happened to her. She then started on about cancer, I merely remarked that hair dye was linked to scalp and bladder cancer and she stormed off in a huff. If only she'd stuck around, I was going to refer her to the following.

'And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye'. MAT 7:3-5.

My latest run in was with a fat man who walked up to me and started banging on about how I was going to die. Quick as a fox I jumped back and urged him to back off for his own safety. He was quite startled until I explained I was concerned about the effects of passive smoking on his health. I think I shall use that one again as it got rid of him pronto.

It's a worrying thing passive smoking, more so when you consider how arbitrary it is. One year 700 people in the UK died from passive smoking, then it shot up to 11,000, then 2000 people in Scotland alone died from it. Sometimes it's 3000 other times 5000 occasionally it's
3600. We'll never know of course but it's possible that if the ban hadn't come in the figure could have been anywhere between five or a million, trillion, squillion, dillion and that's just in Scotland. I must say it's really annoying that cigarettes are made of the only toxic substance known to man that doesn't become less harmful if sufficiently diluted by another substance like air for example. Science is so complicated.

Still it's nice to see that non-smokers many of whom have suffered the indignity of not being victims their entire lives are enjoying their new protected status. We were debating the ban in work a while back and I was almost moved to tears by the terrible pain that has been inflicted on non smokers over the years. One of them was telling us how she hated being in the pub every single Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday lunchtime because of passive smoking. Unfortunately the effects of passive smoking had taken hold, rendering her defenceless. She was unable to take her business elsewhere to a less smoky atmosphere, she couldn't write to the head office of the large chain pub and ask them to make better provision for non-smokers, she couldn't sit outdoors in good weather (because of skin cancer), she couldn't go to the pub less or even mention it to the bar staff. Now believe me this is a person not shy about moaning yet for some reason she was rendered dumb by the smoke. Of course a cynic might say that she really found smoking a minor irritant but felt the good things about the pub were enough to compensate. I did ask her why she didn't take any of the steps outlined above to reduce her exposure to smoke but sadly she was unable to answer. An even worse cynic might say that she was an essentially weak human being who was just thrilled at having government backing to harass and irritate people and of course revel in her official victim status. I of course make no judgement but only note that this individuals mouth becomes a thin slit of displeasure at the mention of anyone, particularly men for some reason enjoying themselves.

Right I'm off to blow smoke at people for kicks. A world without risk?- not on my watch.



ill man said...

Surreal moment from Sunday night. Some bloke lights up in the big new pub at the bottom of my street. He's smoking roll ups and i'm sure the bar staff clocked him. Anyway, I left to go back up the road and my folks came in about half an hour later.

This is the tale they told. A member of bar staff was in the process of asking a group of smokers to move from the doorway of the pub out into the pissing rain when she was informed by my mother that there was a gent IN the pub smoking away like a chimney. 'You served him, he had a fag in his mouth at the time, I saw it' my mother said. This pleased the already harassed outdoor smokers no end. The excuse was that he had gone to the bar with the fag unlit, thus it was deemed to be perfectly satisfactory. Of course, by this time he had lit up again and the poor sod had to go back in and ask him to stub it out.

My position? As a non smoker, I can't feasibly argue for smokers rights, as the main reason I gave up was that I had started to find the habit deeply unenjoyable to the point of it making me retch. I do think that limited bans (restaurants/venues) and bans based on pub size and ventilation would have been appropriate but they've decided to go for the 'no half measures' approach. The hope being that people give up rather than put themselves through the hassle of having to leave company and go outdoors twice an hour. As Clairwil points out though, one meets fellow travellers in these situations and depending on how uplifting/depressing one finds these gatherings, people will act accordingly. I'd wager that a large proportion of people will not be deterred by a bit of outsider status.

Anyway, I'll leave it at that, i've rambled aimlessly enough tonight.

Billy said...

If they had had a limited ban so that you could smoke in some pubs but not others do you think people working in the pub would chose to work at a non-smoking pub or a smoking one? That would have been interesting to see.

I'm a non-smoker, and I honestly don't mind people smoking around me (as long as they don't blow it directly into my face) and I certainly wouldn't hassle a smoker. Their body, their choice and so on. I do think such a draconian ban isn't really called for.

The one thing I've never understood about smoking is why people do it. At least booze and drugs have some kind of pleasant effect at least in moderate quantities. Maybe I'm missing something here, as I must have smoked no more than 100 cigarettes in my life.

Steve said...

Good to see you've defied the smoking ban. Even as a non-smoker I don't think the ban it right.

Perhaps an oxymoron but I don't care.

If I die of passive smoking it's what come with going into pubs to often. It's all about rights and the majority (in our country assuming they are telling the truth) don't smoke (ahem).

Perhaps a truth policy is i order!

Andrew Zalotocky said...

Your description of "thin slit of displeasure" woman - surely there's a nickname in there somewhere - reminds me of this quote from American writer H.L. Mencken: "Puritanism - The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."

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