Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Smoking outside, a problem for some

When smoking was banned in public spaces in Switzerland. Meanwhile, my smoker friends grumbled, predicting the end of pubs and restaurants. I was thrilled.

As they say, there's nothing worse than a reformed smoker! But I'm not as extreme as my friend Chantal. She can’t stand cigarette smoke, even outside.

Chantal is the author of One Big Yodel, one of my favorite expat blogs in Switzerland. Check out her informative and funny post "Lunch al fresco (if you can)" on the smoking topic. A Chicago native and current resident of Baden, Switzerland, Chantal received the Rosalie Fleming Memorial Humor Prize for her satire on the airline industry last year.

Chantal’s post reminded me of a New Yorker's experience following the smoking ban in his city. As he sat in a cab with an Italian visitor, they spotted a crowd of smokers gathered on the sidewalk in the financial district.

“You have a lot of beautiful and conservatively dressed street ladies here,” said the Italian.

“Huh?” said the New Yorker.

“At home in Italy, our prostitutes don't look so good," said the Italian, obviously confused.

Outdoor smoke doesn’t bother me so much. If people want to smoke outdoors, I don't mind. But smoking in tight spaces is sickening, especially in cable cars or trains, as was allowed before 2005 when the Swiss banned smoking on public transportation. Don’t you remember the days when we had to squeeze our bodies into crowded non-smoking train cars, while the adjoining smoking car was empty?

Smoking remains a problem in Switzerland with 30% of the Swiss population still smoking (nearly 40% in the 20 to 24 year old category).

What do you think about smoking outdoors?


  1. Thanks for the mention, Diana. I think the main problem is that anywhere you try to eat lunch outside in Zurich on a nice day, it's hard not to be overwhelmed with smokers because even outside, people are pretty packed together. My newest strategy is to listen for people speaking English. Because chances are, they won't smoke.

  2. Perhaps this is one of the differences between the Alps and the cities. I don't know that many smokers up here. I guess it would bother me too, if the smoke were all around me. Good luck finding your smoke-less space.

  3. If it's a well-open space, I don't see a problem with it. A lot of countries have adapted smoking as a normal practice and so the reforms in the name of health have really caused an uproar. But like any bad habit, it can be broken. I think that not allowing it in public spaces just adds a quality of life to things, because some people are even allergic and can damper things for those around them. Hooray for smoke-free!

  4. Thanks Sara for your comment. The results of the pool showed that cigarette smoke bothers people even outdoors!