Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fagging at an outdoor caf

Mother's best friend died twenty years ago at the age of 49 from a brain tumour. Last weekend her late best friend's widower died at the age of 70. Sister took Mother to the funeral today. Mother's late best friend's daughter, who would be about 45, rang Mother to tell her of her father's death. At the end of the tearful conversation, she asked Mother if she still smoked? Mother confessed she did and the daughter said so did she and told Mother that if she has survived to be so old, then maybe her own habit was not so bad.

It is interesting that the daughter smokes, as neither her late mother or father did, and nor do her two brothers.

I used to admire Dame M who smoked and drank excessively and was a picture of health at 81 and had never suffered more than a hangover. At 82 she was dead from smoking related causes.

Odd to hear our Lord Mayor state that he is unaware of cases of cancer caused by passive smoking, especially given his other public role. I am sure there are cases. If you are constantly in a room full of smoke, then you must be inhaling it and it can't be good for you. But if he meant a wisp of smoke from a stray cigarette hits you outdoors, then ok, I will wear that.

I cast my mind back to when people smoked while shopping in supermarkets and it was nothing to see people smoke in our Myer department stores. How times have changed. Back then we seemed to be desensitised to second hand smoke. Now, you walk along the street and you can smell cigarette smoke from a mile away.

I don't think there would too many people who would now argue that smoking should be allowed indoors in public spaces. One marvellous thing that came out of banning smoking indoors was the explosion of outdoor seating at cafes and outdoor areas at hotels and so forth. Not much later, along came outdoor heating.

Considering that, in my opinion, outdoor eating around the world and especially in Australia only took off seriously when indoor smoking was banned, is it fair to now ban smoking outdoors at cafes etc? The reason we have all these outdoor and winter heated cafes to dine at is because smokers were kicked out from indoors.

Medical Authorities warn that smoking can be hazardous to your health.


  1. I am so old that I can clearly recall people smoking in planes and in the movies. it drove me nuts.
    Doyle is a drongo.

  2. Ann, Stephen Fry said last night that air in planes was cleaner when people smoked as the air used to be changed over much more often. I am surprised that given the circles you used to move in that your are not horrendously addicted to nicotine.

  3. They'll ban everything soon, mark my words!!

  4. They have introduced a ban on outdoor smoking recently in the Elizabeth St Mall in Hobart - although if you ask me, that decision was more about moving the bogans on than for public health reasons.

    I don't have a problem with people smoking in outdoor eating areas. My vested interest is that as a reluctantly-reformed smoker, I don't mind the odd bit of passive smoking when I've had a wine and a parmy. But, in my role as a sanctimonious former smoker, I feel it's my right to be annoyed when I so much as get a slight whiff of the stuff when I'm walking down the street. I'm a complex sort of fellow, what.

    I never thought of the ban on smoking in restaurants having a positive side effect in the form of an increase in outdoor dining.

  5. I was able to smoke on the domestic flight to Perth back in 1985 although they were starting to limit the number of smokes one could chug on each hour.
    Love the outdoor seating boom, with our beautiful climate it's a pity it didn't happen sooner.
    I think drongos would take exception to having Doyle lumped in with them, they're far too intelligent a herd for him ;)

  6. Silly that they haven't thought of bringing back the 6.00 o'clock swill too. There were publicans in my family and I found it interesting to hear the stories of the drinks lined up six deep on the bar for a final scull before closing. Outdoor smoking doesn't worry me at all.

  7. Whoops, forgot to say QI is my fav show on TV at the moment.

  8. Fen, as you get older and your vices drop off, it doesn't seem to matter so much when things are banned.

    Me, we stayed opposite the PO in Hobart and yes, I see the point of banning smoking in the mall. I am surprised so few people know what started the boom in outdoor eating.

    What did they do Jayne? Rip the cigarette from people's mouths?

    LiD, the six o'clock swill must not have been pretty. You have to really tune your ear to catch every nuance in QI.

  9. I had my usual Thursday outdoor breakfast in Bondi Junction mall this morning and noticed, without first seeing her, someone smoking at an adjacent table. By the way, the woman's breakfast was a coffee with her ciggie.

    It is so noticeable now when you encounter a smoker in a public place.

  10. They glared at you and audibly tsk tsked.
    I think they encouraged the other passengers to join in the glaring but they were difficult to see through the smoke haze...

  11. It is very noticeable Victor. But you must have worked in smoke filled environments in the past too and can I suggest that while it wasn't pleasant, you barely noticed it?

    Jayne, I am sure you could out bitch a hostie.

  12. It is true Andrew that we used to live with smoking all over the place; indoors and outdoors and thought little of it unless the amount was particularly heavy. Once bans came into place though any nearby smoking became very noticeable. We weren't aware of the potential difference until the difference emerged.

    In a related matter I spent time in Karachi, Pakistan a few years back where the cars were still running on leaded petrol and the atmosphere when being driven about was almost choking. It was most unpleasant.

    I'd forgotten that it used to be a bit like that in Australian cities pre the unleaded fuel days.

    We forget very quickly.


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.