Sunday, January 14, 2007

Public Smoking Ban

Seven weeks into giving up the fags and I'm finally ready to risk going to a pub again. After all, from 1 January 2007, smoking is banned in all public places in Belgium right? Oh, I see. All public places where people don't mind not lighting up.

I gave up smoking for the somethingth time about 7 or 8 weeks ago. The last time I tried lasted all of 2 heroic weeks, so this is pretty good going so far. I gave up for the usual reason - I want to live. But there's also various other contributing factors like care and concern for my wife and kids, general fitness, recurring hypochondria etc. But what really helped this time was the thought that I wouldn't be able to have a drink and a cigarette together in the bar in any case.

Even though I originally thought the Irish ban on smoking in pubs was bizarre, I came round to the idea. When it was discussed in the UK, I was one of those smokers supporting it. The reason is simple. I am a smoker because I enjoy having a cigarette. Giving up can be tough, and the chemical addiction is real and fairly powerful. But when I'm giving up, the worst temptations are those situations where you enjoy having a cigarette. For me, that was in the pub over a beer. So the much discussed Belgian ban on smoking in public places (from 1 January 2007) was an encouragement.

However, in true Belgian style, the ban is not all it seemed. What they really meant was that smoking is banned in all public places, except those where it's not. That means that most cafes and bars I've come across so far are still smoking zones. So back to relying on willpower then...

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