Thursday, February 02, 2006

(Not) Smoking in Tenerife

Since the introduction of the new anti-smoking laws in January, going out for a drink or a meal has taken on a whole new meaning. The outside of some bars can be far more crowded than the inside, simply because you can smoke out there. So going ‘out’ for a drink must now be much more literally interpreted. It mainly involves standing outside bars and sitting outside restaurants.

If you’re familiar with this blog, then you’ll know that I don't smoke (1 month now, crikey!), but my wife does, as do friends and colleagues. Now I tend to go to a bar in order to be sociable. I don’t tend to stand and drink by myself, nor do I sit and eat alone. So if I want to talk to anyone, I find myself outside too. And at night, it can get pretty bloody chilly, even here in Tenerife. I can’t help thinking that I am freezing my nether regions off, without getting any recompense. This law may well drive me back to smoking, because it seems to me, if I have to stand out there, I may as well be getting the benefit of enjoying a smoke.

Pamela Heywood, in Secret Tenerife, suggests that the smallest bars may now be doing an about face and allowing smoking. But, as I understand it, any larger than 100 customer capacity, and the bar/restaurant needs to have a separate, air tight, vacuum packed area for smokers. Which is, of course, rare! So any bar of any size is non smoking.

The most amusing repercussion of this law that I can share is from the partyland of Las Americas. Lambert & Butler, the ciggie brand, sponsor a regular evening at one bar where they hand out free fags, T shirts and merchandising. However, the bar they do this in is now non smoking. So the promo girls hand out their free sample packs of cigs to the eager punters. And then they’re are closely followed by bouncers waving threatening fingers at the recipients of the freebies “If you’re gonna smoke that mate, you’re gonna do it outside!”

Perhaps they should forget putting the logo on T shirts and instead choose some warmer articles of clothing for their clientele. I’m sure, nowadays, that Lambert & Butler scarves, gloves and anoraks would go down much better.


Anonymous Heimy said...

It's even funnier. Just yesterday the Minister of Health was talking about how this law was not working at all (too much little bars were allowing smoking inside) and that if there's not noticeable decrease of smokers by next year, they will probably make things even tougher.

I suppose I'm lucky being a non-smoker :)

5:13 pm  
Blogger Tenerife Scribbler said...

This anti-smoking jihad that the western world is involved in has spread out from California where you couldn't smoke in bars over a decade ago. It is a Huxley type double speak where personal freedom has been squashed on the pretext of increasing the liberty of the masses.

oops. Smoking meets politics.

9:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Smoking meets politics ... It may be simple arithmetic. If the people are demanding social unacceptability for smoking, which they seem to be doing, never mind that it wasn't their own idea ... then governments are probably shit scared of losing the vast revenue that they used to pick up from tobacco sales anyway. So, why not help the matter along and create laws that allow them to squeeze fines instead?

Oh the vaccum packed areas in larger bars (over 100 sq meters actually) have to be installed by August.

6:09 pm  
Blogger Tenerife Scribbler said...

hmm. Ms Heywood, you have a good point there. I'm no accountant, but aren't they going to need shitloads of fines to match that loss in revenue?

p.s. Deeply suspicious about your astute line of thinking. Are you sure you are not part of some policy think tank?

p.p.s. If you are, can you gently sway them away from making up lost revenue by taxing the fun out of alcohol, please.

6:26 pm  

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