There was a time when smoking was just about the coolest thing you could do. How did you know it was the coolest thing? Very simple; cool guys with greased hair in movies did it, and if history has taught us anything, it’s that cool guys in movies should be as closely emulated as possible. How else would we get fashion trends otherwise? Plus, how else would we know that playing poker at an online casino would almost certainly go better with a cigarette, if it wasn’t shown to us in movies? Or, was that poker at a table of shifty mobsters, smoking cigars?
Either way, times have (fortunately!) changed. It became clear that not only is smoking bad for you, but that it’s also massively addictive. So cool guys in movies no longer smoke, except for Wolverine. But then he has a healing factor, and his lungs likely don’t develop cancerous growths like the rest of us. The times of smoking when and where you want are mostly a thing of the past. Though, that does rather depend on where in the world you are, and just how easy it is to interpret the actual laws.
Most agree that laws work best when they are clear and concise. This helps resolve any issues that may arise around breaking laws, and likewise makes the process of enforcing the laws smoother. Not in Slovakia. In Slovakia they decided to have the world’s most confusing smoking laws, making it rather difficult to decide when and where one can legally light up.
In Slovakia it is illegal to smoke in a workplace, on condition that the workplace is occupied by non-smokers. As to whether that non-smoker has to be in the same room as the lit cigarette isn’t made clear. Plus, in bars and restaurants, the law states that a smoking area can occupy 50% of the floor space. Which 50%, you’re asking? This space here, and then a little of that space there? Does it matter if you stand in a smoking area, and blow smoke directly into the face of a non-smoker standing in an adjacent non-smoking area? Questions we may never know the answers to.
If you thought Slovakia was confusing, it’s because you likely haven’t been to the United States. The great thing about the US of A is that one law does not necessarily matter once you have crossed a state line. So, you may well find yourself unexpectedly breaking the law if you’re smoking in your vehicle, and passing over a specific border.
While California and New York have some of the most aggressive smoking laws in the world, many areas in the South are the exact opposite, taking a much more lenient approach. So while being seen with a cigarette virtually anywhere in public will get you slapped with all sorts of bank breaking fines in New York, in other parts of the country it is perfectly acceptable to light a cigarette in a bar, order a drink, and blow a long, steady cloud of smoke into the bartender’s face. The bartender may not like it, but it’s not breaking the law in Texas.
Australia, at least, has the decency to be tough with smoking laws across the board. Known to have some of the toughest smoking laws in the world, there is virtually nowhere a cool guy can light a cigarette any more, except the privacy of their own home.
Don’t worry, though, since a pack of cigarettes in Australia is also the most expensive in the world, there likely aren’t many smokers left. At least, not any that have much in the way of expendable cash. A pack of 20 cigarettes will now cost over £10. Ouch. Apparently Australia isn’t called the Nanny State for nothing!