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No smoke. By DA.

Scotland is the first country in the UK to adopt a smoking ban in public places. This includes pubs and bars where a pint a dram and a fag is tradition going back centuries (stop sniggering you Americans, a fag is a cigarette, right?).

This has had some unexpected effects, the least desirable of which is that every pub doorway is covered in cigarette butts, in fact, everywhere is covered in cigarette butts. I took a stroll though the park off Princes Street in Edinburgh the other day and it's covered in the things. They don't bio-degrade very quickly either, after-all it's no good having a water-soluble filter tip on a ciggy is it? So they hang around for ages and a are a real problem for councils to clean up... how would you go about picking up thousands of fag-ends from a few acres of grass? The only answer I can think of is a huge vacuum cleaner, but it may end up being clogged with dog-turds I suppose..

Opinions are divided on the effect this is having on the other "drug" involved in the pub experience: alcohol. Some say it has stopped people coming to enjoy a smoke and a drink and that numbers are down. Others say that stalwart smokers are supping up their pints in double-quick time, nipping out for a smoke and then returning to the bar for the next one.. hence alcohol consumption is up. I can see a market for a special kind of rubberised strip-curtain that could replace the outside wall of a typical Scottish boozer, there would be a shelf on the inside where the drinker puts his glass and, when he wanted a fag, he'd stick his head through the curtain and puff away outside. I must patent it.

If you are found to be lighting-up in the wrong place you can be fined £50 and the owner of the premises is liable to a £200 fine. This must be a serious worry for Keith Richards, the leather-skinned riff-master of the Rolling Stones beat combo. He was spotted puffing away at the Stones' recent Glasgow Stadium gig. We'll be having a whip-round to raise the £50 for the old devil soon.

Also falling foul of the anti-smoking zealots recently is Tom, the cartoon cat, who's cigar-smoking scene has had to be cut so that it doesn't taint the minds of the innocent viewers. In the scene in question, Tom lit up to impress a lady cat with his cool demeanor, a "positive image" of smoking. Presumably if, as so many cartoon cigars do, the cigar had exploded and blown his head off that would have been fine?

Ah well, must go. I'm off for a fag... and I think I'll have a cigarette afterwards. (Ha, and indeed, ha).

© Winamop. June 2006

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© Winamop 2006