Privileged Slovak smokers get off light

Taking the smoking ban seriously?

I have noticed that Slovakia seems to be the only country I know of where the ban on smoking is a success and welcomed by many punters.

In Ireland it has had a detrimental effect on the bar trade, with many bars and pubs closing and many owners citing “The Ban” as the main cause.

Some people still ignore, to their cost, the ban on smoking at the workplace. Recently an Irish bar owner was imprisoned for 3 months, fined EUR 2,000.00, ordered to pay costs of EUR 1,740.99 and a member of his staff was fined EUR 500.00 and ordered to pay cost of EUR 1,357.94. I wonder will the laws governing “The Ban” be as strictly enforced here in Slovakia?

Good ventilation systems will help this, many non-smokers can tolerate virtually smoke free environments, where as some are totally anti-smoke and totally refuse. In fairness to all, it is very uncomfortable even for ardent smokers to have smoke wafting across their meal.

Many Slovak bars and restaurants are now catering for both smokers and non-smokers; it is interesting to see how this works? People in busy bars often now have to choose in which section to sit, arguments between smokers and non-smokers will ensue when you have a mixed group; do we sit here or do we sit there. So choose your friends carefully. When smokers have to venture outside to partake in their ‘coffin nails’, they will complain that pneumonia and pleurisy will get them before the cancer and heart disease does, but will enjoy spectacular voyeuristic views in the summer months as the parade of summer exhibitions strut by and even use the inconvenience as chat up lines for the “fairer sex”.

The other option is a lepers’ corner, solely for smokers, a sin bin if you like. At a snooker bar in a popular Bratislava shopping centre, for instance, they have a 3m2 cubicle in the middle of the bar, where smokers are put on display through glass windows as they fumigate themselves in a confined, but pretty well-ventilated, mini prison.

In a small village bar I was in they have a limited menu of sausage advertised on their blackboard, with the comment that food is only served to smokers! An amazing attempt to circumvent the law banning smoking where food is served, by offering a truly ‘smoked sausage’. Their creativity has to be admired, at least.

Anyway, whatever your preference, the milder anti-smoking law in Slovakia has made it possible for bars to survive what in other countries has led to closures and people staying more at home with their carry-outs. It is hard to say, though, how many establishments are actually breaching the law in how they deal with the restrictions, or if they would ever have any repercussions like the poor bar owner in Ireland, who now has porridge for breakfast every day.

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