Csíkszereda Musings

My life in and around Csíkszereda, also known as Miercurea Ciuc.

Side effects of the smoking ban

Posted by Andy Hockley on 25 April, 2007

I spent last week in Aberdeen, which, being in Scotland, has a full on smoking ban in pubs, restaurants, etc. (England & Wales don’t yet, but Scotland does). Walking into a genuine UK style pub, and finding nobody smoking is somewhat strange at first. I’ve been in countries and states that have smoking bans before, but pubs are different – I mean I grew up passively (and, at times, actively) smoking in pubs, and having one without the all pervasive smell of smoke is almost as weird as being in one that doesn’t serve beer or sell crisps.

The hotel I was staying in, for example, had a cellar pub bit in which there were at least 10 TV screens showing football from various different locations simultaneously. The night I walked in it was packed with men – many of whom I took to be oil-workers, as they seem to make up much of the transient population of the city (“Aberdeen: Oil Capital of Europe” signs proclaimed, though I’m figuring there must be somewhere in Norway that has at least as good a claim on that title) . A bar full of burly looking blokes watching football and not a whiff of smoke. Very peculiar and somehow unsettling (much more unusual than the lack of women, for example)

But then it was that I began to realise the downside of the smoking ban. That is that the benefit of cigarette smoke is that it is extremely effective at masking any other odours hanging around. And in this bar, I soon realised, there was very definitely an odour. And it was fairly pervasive, almost to a post-match-changing-room level of acridity. Funny, they never mention B.O. when discussing the pros and cons of the ban, do they? Mind you, as unpleasant as the smell of poorly-deoderised sweat may be (and it is, believe me, very unpleasant), at least your clothes don’t stink of other people when you get home.

Not just BO, apparently

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