Some time ago, I had cause to freeze my bollox off outside a pub.
It was midwinter and I was in a different village so, like it or not I had to join the throng on the pavement outside for a smoke.
As is nearly always the case, the atmosphere outside was a lot more convivial than the one inside. The pub reeked of stale piss, stale beer and sweat and the non-smokers were as usual staring glumly into their pints. Most of those non-smokers seem to be miserable bastards. Outside however, there was a lot of laughter and banter interspersed with shivering and the chattering of teeth.
I was chatting up a Yang Wan who tried to bum a fag off me. I told her I didn’t smoke cigarettes, so she blagged one of someone else. ‘Hey, Debbie! I didn’t know you smoked?’ someone shouted. ‘I don’t’ she replied, ‘but it’s a lot more craic out here’.
At the time I though she was joking, but since then I have heard of many tales of people starting to smoke, simply because they felt left out. Usually it’s women, who feel a bit miffed when the fella nips out for a fag and doesn’t reappear for half an hour. She decides to see what the attraction is, and the next thing you know, she’s puffing away with the rest of them.
I thought these were merely anecdotes, but I read an article in the Sunday Times where apparently this is the new phenomenon. People [mostly women] are taking up smoking for the first time simply because of the ban. The article quoted one woman – ‘A lot of the appeal is the fact it’s a form of rebellion and therefore there’s a perception that it’s cool’ Another woman [who apparently is known as a fitness fanatic] admitted ‘I only started after the smoking ban because I got fed up being left behind when everyone else went outside’.
I would love to know what the Antis make of this little result of their efforts. I suppose they are all sitting in their smug, odourless, humourless rooms feeding themselves on statistics that they have just plucked from nowhere, and celebrating because they have statistical proof that ingrown toenails are down 80% since the smoking ban was introduced.
There is something that they all overlook.
Make something compulsory and everyone will hate it.
Ban something and it immediately becomes attractive.
The Antis should should have made smoking compulsory for everyone.