Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Pros and cons of the smoking ban and why I will always hate it.

Pros and cons of the smoking ban and why I will always hate it.

The smoking ban made me very sad. I had only been sixteen for such a short while when all of a sudden, BAM! Smoking ban and raised smoking age. 2007 would never be the same again.

For those who don’t smoke, have never smoked or purchased cigarettes illegally, you will never quite understand the doubt that plagues you as you drag your underage backside up to the counter. The person behind the counter seems to become taller, scarier and generally more evil, as they are the ones in control of your smoking fate. You might get a little sweaty, you might blush but you can almost guarantee you’d try your hardest to make your voice seem slightly deeper and therefore in your own mind, nonchalant. Of course, if you haven’t made the trek to the notorious newsagent that is known for selling cigarettes to kids, you probably will get knocked back and that’s an ordeal in itself. You can either do one of several things; you could hang your head in shame and walk out and then wait for your friend to try after you, check your bag and pockets for your imaginary id, or say that you are genuinely nineteen and that you lost your id and that you look young for age and they’re complementing you. None of these generally worked, unless you were very lucky.

Being a sixteen year old smoker was tough, it was all about looking cool (and failing) and scabbing cigarettes off anyone who’d give them out. The smoking ban was tough on us. We used to hang out in pretty big groups on pretty small sofas and chairs in pretty crappy coffee shops and smoke as much as we could without vomiting. Without the smoking ban we had places we could go where we could sit and be mildly anti-social towards other customers. It also gave us a place to “revise” during our study leave. In other words, we would sit and talk about childish things while listening to the cheesy songs they played on a loop, including such classics as Shaggy and “are Diana”.

When the smoking ban came in, we lost this magic and have now been banished to the streets and with the British weather it can be a struggle to stay positive. So after a couple of years of this, I still feel quite bitter about it. I do occasionally smoke indoors and it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s so relaxing sitting indoors, in the warm and using an ashtray. Nothing can beat it.

All in all there are very few pros to the smoking ban in my books. Yeah, of course we’re not damaging other people’s health blah blah, but seriously non-smokers don’t understand just how cold it is outside! And yes maybe we are smoking less and saving money, but it doesn’t stop me resenting all the bastards sat in the warmth with their coats off.

In all honesty, I don’t think I’ll ever get over it. My only hope is that they don’t change the alcohol laws for at least three years until I’m out of university.

I need a cigarette.

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