Saturday, 5 January 2008

Cafe culture gives up smoking

Today was our first sortie in Ferney's café culture since the January 1st ban on smoking. Now you can even see people at the next table and don't need to take all your clothes to the laundry after a cup of coffee at your local! It's quite interesting that the British media are so interested in the application of the ban in France when actually all the way along Germany has been extremely resitant to the ban, and managed to get delays and some special case exemptions.
This great bit of EU legistlation does not apply in Switzerland of course, so to get a taste of what French café culture used to be like all we need to do is go over the border. With the ghastly Phillip Morris a major local employer I imagine it may take a while to get around to a ban in Switzerland.
Meanwhile the tobacco industry is still intent on exporting the tobacco epidemic to the developing world, as this article from the International Development Research Centre makes clear. The opening quote states
"Tobacco is a major threat to sustainable and equitable development . . . In the developing world tobacco poses a major challenge, not just to health, but also to social and economic development and to environmental sustainability."
Bellagio Statement on Tobacco and Sustainable Development, June 1995
I managed to give up smoking in 1989. Late in the evening after a whiskey with friends I do still very occasionally long for a puff or two on a large Cuban cigar - probably more for the sense of decadence than the nicotine hit - but I'm not sure I'd even enjoy that anymore. As far as I'm concerned French café culture just got a whole lot better.