No smoking in Italy


Horror, the horror!

Smoking Ban Clears the Air, but It Befogs Italians' Mood:
Smokers and restaurant owners in Italy were fuming in a rather different way after a tough new law that bans smoking in public places - one of the strictest in Europe - went into effect.

As undercover health inspectors and police officers began patrolling cafes and bars, smokers huddled resignedly on sidewalks outside restaurants at lunchtime, while those inside enjoyed what would be for many their first smoke-free meal.

"It's a disaster - my clients all complained," said Concetta Gaggiano, owner of the Nico Bar, a usually bustling cafe in central Milan. "People just ate their sandwiches and left. They didn't even have coffee. You could tell that they couldn't wait to light up a cigarette."

Andrea Pinketts, a Milan-based crime writer and smoking advocate, vowed to continue to smoke cigars in public or "move to Cuba, where you can smoke even in airports." He condemned the law as what he called a Calvinist move aimed at creating a new sort of apartheid.

"Looking at human history, intolerance has caused more damage, even death, than smoking ever did," Mr. Pinketts said.

Getting people not to smoke in a country where around a quarter of the population does has been a major headache for the Health Ministry, which pushed the law through more than a year ago, giving restaurants and bars 12 months to create sealed-off smoking areas.

The new law bans smoking in indoor spaces, including offices, unless they have a separate smoking area with continuous floor-to-ceiling walls and a ventilation system. Many bars and cafes in Italy are simply too small to accommodate such a space and still turn a profit.

"We're worried that this is the first step toward a society where everything is banned," said Marino Pessina, who founded the "Io Fumo" (I Smoke) association on Monday and began collecting signatures for a referendum to repeal the no-smoking law.


I've wanted to visit Europe for years but didn't because of a severe allergy to cigarette, pipe and cigar smoke.

The smoking ban in Italy is music to my ears. I'm planning on taking some Italian language courses and visiting in the near future.

Excellent! I'm curious how well the ban is working.

the smoking ban went down well, I haven't seen anyone complain yet ( I live in Italy), the only down side is eveyone is now getting a cold as they have to stand out side & smoke! The pavements are very crowded at nightimes, but the good news is lots of people have cut down or stopped smoking - me included !

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 11, 2005 12:38 AM.

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