city life

the smoking ban

Living downtown, I’ve begun to notice something. While, on the rare occasions I do go out, the smoke has cleared in bars and clubs for the most part – people do still smoke in clubs especially; who’s to stop them when there’s a massive crowd protecting them from the view of whomever is meant to enforce the law? – I find that now, as a result of the further imposition that people aren’t even allowed to smoke outdoors on a patio (is that true? is it just a rumour? I’m confused now), everywhere I walk, I inhale much more concentrated trails of cigarette smoke. Everywhere. Constantly. Every other breath – sometimes every breath – is an inhalation of someone else’s smoke trail.

It smells disgusting. I hate it – it’s worse than the car fumes. It’s such a direct hit on your nose as well. It’s worse because they’re walking in front of you, the smoke is trailing behind them, and it’s going directly up into your face, into your nostrils. If I’m standing with a friend who’s smoking, it’s not nearly so bad, because I stand upwind; I have a choice of location then. When I’m just minding my own business walking down the sidewalk, and keep suddenly smelling other people’s cigarettes against my will – well it’s very frustrating constantly having to make beelines around people, or being forced to rush ahead or even, when it’s crowded, push past them to get ahead and breathe freely again.

I don’t know if turning everyone out into the streets to smoke was really such a good idea. I suppose it’s great for people who work in bars and clubs. And for people who go there all the time. But why the patio rule? It’s an even greater imposition on us, otherwise healthy, pedestrians who now get constant, concentrated cigarette smoke up our nostrils (and into our lungs) just because we choose to be healthier or save money and walk.

[Jan. 24, 2007 Edit: I’ve turned off commenting for now. I didn’t mean to incite a riot on my blog; I was simply expressing my opinion on this matter. Everyone is entitled to either like or dislike smoking, just as they are drinking alcohol, which has perhaps worse consequences because of people drinking and driving. So, not to cut anyone off, but debate is what your own blogs are for. Feel free to link to this post if you wish.]