My love for the Emerald Isle took a serious blow yesterday when the Irish government banned smoking in all of the country's 10,000 pubs. The measure targets not only pubs but also includes any place that can be called a workplace with exceptions including prison cells, psychiatric hospitals and nursing homes.
Brilliant. Forbid the general population from enjoying a smoke with their Guinness but allow the incarcerated, the insane and the sick elderly to light up at will.
One supporter of the ban had this to say:
"It will be marvelous to have a night out, then not wake up in the morning with your hair and clothes stinking of smoke," said homemaker Eileen Kennedy, who generally smokes a few cigarettes a week — when she goes out for a drink with her husband.
I have a bit of advice for Eileen. If you don't want your hair and clothes stinking like smoke then don't smoke, you sodding twit! I usually find that the smoker most responsible for making my clothes reek after a night of binge drinking and chain smoking is the one to whom my hangover belongs in the morning. Stop trying to alter the behavior of those around you before you even attempt to modify yours.
And then there's this quote:
"I think, at the end of the day, a person can't argue with the logic of it because we all know cigarettes are bad for us," said cabbie Shay Kearney, a smoker who's thinking of quitting now. "And if it actually encourages people to give up, in the long term, maybe it's a good thing — obviously it's a good thing."
Apparently, Shay believes that he and his fellow countrymen are completely unable to make the decision to quit smoking without the government stepping in to ban it from all public places. Oh he wants to quit, but without the gentle guiding hand of his friendly and caring government he is powerless. Nonsense.
The logical next step to all of this is, of course, making cigarettes illegal altogether, but no government agency seems to be advocating that route either in Ireland or right here in America. If one follows Shay's logic, an outright ban would be a good thing in that it wouldn't just encourage people to quit, it would actually force them to quit. It would also force the government to forgo the revenue they reap from cigarrette taxes, and that simply ain't going to happen.
So, both governments will continue to rail against the unhealthy and undesirable effects of cigarettes while licking their lips at the pile of money they were able to amass by profiting off their sale.
In the meantime, my favorite activity while visiting Ireland (a puff and a pint in a pub) has been prohibited. The question is, can I carry my pint down the street in Dublin? I guess if I can fill that annoying down time necessary to walk from pub to pub by sucking down a pint of Guinness on the street with a heater dangling from my mouth, I can learn to adapt.