Europeans need to stop smoking as much

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On a recent trip to Europe, what particularly struck the three of us non-smokers on that trip is how many young people smoke over there compared to here.

It seems to me that nearly everywhere we went in Paris or Rome, we could smell heavy cigarette smoke (we could also smell the incredibly heavy pollution in Paris, but that’s another matter), and that included even restaurants, which nearly all permit smoking in outside seating areas and given that the great majority of people prefer to to eat in outside seating and for a very good reason – the walk-by parade is fascinating and great fun to watch – that means that we, who also preferred to eat outside suffered constant 2nd hand smoke intake with nearly every meal we ate: they just smoke a whole lot more, especially young people.

And they don’t just smoke with meals.

In fact, according to a study from UK researchers presented at the recent European Respiratory Congress 2017 in Barcelona, more than 25 % of Europeans who work indoors are exposed to 2nd hand smoke at work, which amazingly – in an era in which fewer people are smoking and in which in theory there are now laws and rules restricting smoking in most workplaces – is an actual increase in smoke exposure over the last decade.

The problem is pretty straight-forward: they just aren’t very strict in enforcing no-smoking rules in most parts of Europe, not even Paris.

As one of the researchers was quoted online” I can directly compare my home country, Greece, with the UK, where I have been working for the past few years. They both have very good smoke-free laws, but efforts to enforce them in Greece have been very poor . . . ”

Now for us, this 2nd hand smoke intake was mostly a nuisance – an unwelcome and unpleasant accompaniment to most meals but to many Europeans, who cannot avoid this kind of exposure, it’s a real health threat.

So it’s bloody time they enforced the anti-smoking rules more over there: it’s an established fact (established entirely by me but I’ve validated it many times) – a smoke-engulfed omelette aux cepes or steak frites or moules frites just doesn’t taste nearly as good as the same meal eaten without a haze of smoke around the eater.

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