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Anti Smoking Ban in Italy's Restaurants


menton1
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A new anti-smoking law goes into effect in the entire country on Jan. 10, in all restaurants and "public spaces". Of course, the law is being met with the usual resistance, claims of loss of business, a terrible strain on restaurants, etc. And, of course, after the law is in effect, none of that will be seen to be true.

Ireland has had a similar law in effect for several months now, and it claims to have encouraged 10,000 people to quit smoking. Similar outcries in California and New York have also proved unfounded.

So let's open the floor to Eg comments, and see how you folks think this smoking ban will affect the culture and business of restaurants and bars in Italy!!

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Does this include the bar?? :sad: Good lord, I don't even smoke and I feel their pain!! :shock: It always cracks me up that the little kids hang out at our local bar where they sell liquor (oh the horror), and cigarettes (!!), and lottery tickets (!!!) and pastries and sodas and their is such a strong sense of community.

Watching NY'ers huddle outside doorways, in masses in front of restaurants, I just don't know what this law has accomplished.

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Well, since no-one's suggesting that smoking be made illegal, there's a choice: Either they can smoke outside or inside. So if they're not smoking inside, inside is smoke-free. That's what it's accomplished. It's for the benefit of the breathing and general health of those inside. And while the smoking outside does result in some bad air, there's a lot more ventilation outside than inside, so the smoke gets dissipated more easily when they're outside. But you knew all of that already. :laugh:

I love the idea of more and more states and countries adopting smoke-free area regulations. But of course I'm not an Italian citizen.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I've been reading about this in Italian papers and Italian food forums quite often in the past weeks. As often the case with Italian laws :biggrin: , I've not been able to understand how this should really work, who would be eventually fined in case of infractions and if the establishment owner/manager or the police should take care the law is respected.

What seems rather sure is that smoking will be allowed in special separate areas. The accent is on separate; as long as non smokers are not getting to breathe the smoke, it should be OK. Accidentaly quite a few top-end restaurants have been setting up separate smoking rooms, starting a few years ago, as a mean to avoid disturbing non-smoking customers.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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It comes as a surprise to hear that the first European country to follow the Irish example is Italy.

I've just come from a great lunch in one of Brussels' marvellous Italian restaurants. The place was full - around 70 to 80 relaxed end-of-year, convivial, long slow lunch groups taking two and a half hours over food, wine and grappas. At coffee time there were three smokers in the whole place - and it was the habitual smokers at my table who said "this is awful, why can't they just wait or go outside - if a ban works in Dublin why not here?" Smoking is really becoming an issue in Europe.

Ireland is an unlikely European country to start a smoking ban - the national attitude towards regulation has always been somewhat mediterranean so it was a surprise to many when the new rule was readily accepted. Indeed in a few short months it has been embraced with enthusiasm and is now virtually unquestioned. The enhanced quality of life for those who go to restaurants and bars (and particularly for those who work in them) is evident. For smokers, the minor inconvenience of stepping outside from time to time causes little bother.

Italy has a much better climate than Ireland and, notwithstanding an equally relaxed approach to inconvenient rules, there is no reason to doubt that the benefits of a smoking ban will be some be generally accepted.

Maybe after Rome and Dublin - Paris, London and Brussels will follow. There are however a few doubtful candidates where a smoking ban is a long way off - in politeness to the colleagues with whom I've just got through several bottles of Salice Salintino these countries can remain unnamed here. Anybody who travels around Europe will know the worst offenders - but if the Irish and Italians can change, anybody can.

Good luck to the Italians in 2005 with this and to anybody else who has the courage to attempt change.

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I've been reading about this in Italian papers and Italian food forums quite often in the past weeks. As often the case with Italian laws :biggrin: , I've not been able to understand how this should really work, who would be eventually fined in case of infractions and if the establishment owner/manager or the police should take care the law is respected.

Now that is classic Italian!! :biggrin::wacko::laugh:

We have a "official" carabeniere in town that we call "Bossy Boots"....he is just going to live for this!!! (He once made a special trip to our house to complain about some flower petals that had fallen from the window box into the street!)

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Now that is classic Italian!!  :biggrin:  :wacko:  :laugh:

We have a "official" carabeniere in town that we call "Bossy Boots"....he is just going to live for this!!! (He once made a special trip to our house to complain about some flower petals that had fallen from the window box into the street!)

About flower petals?? :blink::wacko:

You should have him moved to Naples :laugh: .

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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Naples - so he can try to stop all the people from driving on the red lights, and still driving while the light is green!!! Or for handing tickets out to all the helmetless scoter riders!!!

I think this smoking ban might be effective in large cities, where the cops have to do something about it - but I dont think the smaller, larger Italy will feel the effect of such a law - if you haven't been, you really don't understand how many poeople really smoke sooooo much!

Ciao,

Ore

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It will work.

I think it would of been better if they started the law in the springtime.

Quite a few places in this area have already started enforcing the law.

Of course if we are smoking outside we will be talking or laughing and making a little "casino" --- I bet the neighbors living next to the local restaurant / pub are not going to be too happy about that.

On the positive side we will smoke less this way -

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Some restaurants and bars will clearly whine and complain and drag their heels as long as possible. Many, however, put up No Smoking signs a the beginning of 2004 or earlier. Clearly, some owners were just waiting for an excuse to NOT have smoking in their places. So it seems that there are more "militant" non-smokers in Italy than might have been suspected.

best regards,

Deirdré Straughan

http://www.straughan.com

best regards,

Deirdré Straughan

http://www.straughan.com

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But then others who don't go as often now because of the smoking may go more frequently :smile: and enjoy it more.

I have a hard time believing that this will be enforced, although I would love to see it so. My biggest quibble with visiting Europe is the smoking, especially indoors in restaurants.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

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But then others who don't go as often now because of the smoking may go more frequently :smile: and enjoy it more.

I have a hard time believing that this will be enforced, although I would love to see it so. My biggest quibble with visiting Europe is the smoking, especially indoors in restaurants.

That's absolutely true. My elderly father very much wants to travel to Europe, but won't go because one simply cannot avoid that smoke.

So, I'm sure it will even out....some folks won't go because they can't smoke in some venues, and others (like us) WILL go for precisely that very exact reason.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I've been reading about this in Italian papers and Italian food forums quite often in the past weeks. As often the case with Italian laws  :biggrin: , I've not been able to understand how this should really work, who would be eventually fined in case of infractions and if the establishment owner/manager or the police should take care the law is respected.

What seems rather sure is that smoking will be allowed in special separate areas. The accent is on separate; as long as non smokers are not getting to breathe the smoke, it should be OK. Accidentaly quite a few top-end restaurants have been setting up separate smoking rooms, starting a few years ago, as a mean to avoid disturbing non-smoking customers.

In the words of the late Herb Caen, beloved columnist of the San Francisco Chronicle, "Having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a pool."

Who are they kidding?

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I really should have mentioned that I am all in favour of non-smoking sections everywhere. Indeed, in fine restaurants I fully understand a complete ban on smoking in the dining room(s) - if there is a bar/lounge/whatever where I can enjoy a post-prandial cigar. I *never* smoke between courses in a restaurant where the food interests me and discourage my dining companions from so doing.

But total prohibition is, to my mind, just a bit too much.

Charles Milton Ling

Vienna, Austria

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I loathe the smoke of most cigars, so it's difficult for me to be sympathetic to your difficulty in smoking outside if it's cold or rainy. But you may have to get used to limits on your smoking, as indoor smoking bans seem to be gradually increasing in EU countries. Would you be really surprised if Austria imposes a ban within a few years?

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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All this fuss is much ado about nothing... there was a similar outcry in New York and California, and now, after all the dust has settled, the restaurants there are thriving as before, but with no smoking!! I believe the effect of this ban on the restaurant business in Italy will be negligible.

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All this fuss is much ado about nothing...  there was a similar outcry in New York and California, and now, after all the dust has settled, the restaurants there are thriving as before, but with no smoking!!  I believe the effect of this ban on the restaurant business in Italy will be negligible.

The effect might even be positive. I have a health problem with smoke - exposure often leads to a sinus infection - and avoid smoky places. My brother-in-law, who lives in Norway, suffers from asthma and basically can't go to restaurants in winter because of the smoke. So smoking bans will tend to allow us to go out more often.

As for smoke in the restaurant = pee in the pool, it's a clever line, but in Italy what I'm seeing is the effective solution of actual walled off sections for smokers, and there are specific requirements about air circulation/filtering in all areas. So the Italian solution might actually be effective. And it seems that enforcement is being taken care of by restaurant owners themselves - sensible of them, since their fines for allowing smoking are about ten times what the actual smoker would pay.

best regards,

Deirdré Straughan

http://www.straughan.com

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ps re. Austria, during our Easter trip to Vienna I was disappointed that I couldn't enjoy the famous coffee houses because they reeked so horribly of stale cigarettes and beer. I ended up taking banal American refuge in Starbucks, which doesn't allow smoking.

best regards,

Deirdré Straughan

http://www.straughan.com

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You know....this is a really interesting conundrum in every area where it's been tried.

Austin, Texas, where I lived, also instituted a very strict smoking ban. At first, there was a huge howl and outcry.

But here's the thing....the smokers have run all of the nonsmokers out of the bars and restaurants. So when those folks that make a business of sampling public opinion go to those same bars and restaurants, all that's there to query are the smokers, and their long-suffering relatives and friends. Likewise, when the bar and restaurant owners attempt to predict the effect the ban is going to have on their business, all they can see when they look around are the smokers.

After these bans are passed, the nonsmokers begin to show up. Slowly at first, untrusting. But when the bans are enforced, and the air is clean, the nonsmokers arrive in droves.

In Austin, back before the smoking bans were put in place, a local nightclub had Etta James come for a series of concerts one weekend. In addition to the usual Friday night and Saturday night concerts, one was scheduled one for Sunday evening. Nonsmoking.

All of the concerts sold out (this was Etta James after all), but according to the newspaper, the Sunday one sold out fastest, by far. The owner said that if the smoking ban hadn't passed as law, he planned many more of these no-smoking concerts. He said that although he was initially nervous about offering it, fearing no one would show up, it turned out that much to his surprise, the smoke had kept away far more folks than anyone realized.

The bottom line, frankly, is that strict smoking bans allow everyone to come and enjoy the venue....the restaurant, the bar, the concert, whatever.

Smokers may not want to have that cigarette or cigar in the car before or after, or out on the patio, or at home, but the absolute, uncontrovertible fact of the matter is that they CAN.

On the other hand, people with respiratory illnesses, such as emphysema, or asthma, or other allergies, or for whom inhaling smoke means headaches and watery eyes and burning nasal passages and sore throats, or a trip to the dry cleaners with their brand new cashmere coat, or merely a shower and shampoo before they can get to sleep, are PROHIBITED from being likewise able to enjoy those restaurants, bars and concerts.

As the parent of a son with severe asthma who for many years could never even find a place for our family to enjoy a pizza, I'm sorry, but I just don't feel any sympathy.

Edited by Jaymes (log)

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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It seems that the new Italian anti-smoking law is not going down as easily as most thought. Today La Repubblica has an online article reporting the strong opposition of the restaurant owners belonging to the Fipe-confcommercio association, proposing a boycott. As Deirdre mentioned above, the law expects restaurant owners to inform police or carbinieri about possible infractions: the police would than have to carry out the smoking ban. If the restaurant owner fails to inform the police he can be fined for a sum between € 200 and 2200.

What the restaurant owners oppose to is their having to take up the role of, in their words, "smoke sherrifs". In Italy only pubblic officials can force the law and therefore restaurant owners would find themselves in the position of braking the law to respect it. The Fipe boycott will however touch only the police notification obligation. The part of the law regarding no smoking signs and special smokers rooms, with air filters and such, will be respected.

Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.
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