When I was at varsity I smoked a box of cigarettes a day. Now the only tar I burn is the one under my running shoes. (Sorry...that was unbelievably poor). Why would I risk my reputation with such a terrible joke? Well, it's a nice way to ease into the topic of this post: why I f-ing hate smoking so much and the way it impacts eating out.
You see, if you have smoked before and you have given up I PROMISE you you will hate smoke and smokers more than someone who has never smoked. As a never-before-smoker you might think you hate smoke(ers) but trust me you don't. That hatred is reserved for people like me. It's not that I hate the people who smoke, I don't. What I hate is the way you can be out for a meal and suddenly everyone has to rush outside for a quick nicotine fix. Between courses, before starters, after desserts - it pisses me off.
And look, I don't want to sound like a complete dick but if I'm out for a meal secondary smoke has the potential to ruin it. If I'm going to a birthday party or a dinner that has the potential to get particularly boozy then sure, I will more than happily sit in the smoking section. But I will have the courtesy to consider other diners who are there to enjoy the food. And on the occasions when I have had to deal with secondary smokers do you know who I blame? Not the smokers. The restaurant owners. So you can imagine how stoked I am to hear that smoking laws have been tightened. Fines for breaching have increased to R50 000 for restaurant owners and R500 for individuals. Restaurants that allow smoking on verandas and outside areas will have to be extra-careful too, as partially closed spaces have now been included in areas where smoking is banned. Another interesting point is that it is now illegal for anyone under 18 to be allowed into a designated smoking area. It's all pretty hectic.
I know I ranted a bit earlier and I do understand that restaurant owners and smokers will find these new laws a bit harsh. I might even agree. I personally reckon each restaurant should be assessed on an individual basis. Common sense should prevail and a compromise should be reached. What do you guys think of it all?