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View Poll Results: What is your opinion of smoking in restaurants?
Disgusting - Therefore I visits restaurants less often 152 51.35%
Disgusting - I still visit restaurants just as often 41 13.85%
I don't like it but I guess I'm used to it 29 9.80%
I smoke - but I also don't like it when I'm eating 43 14.53%
These non-smokers are a bunch of whingers, I want to smoke where and whenever I want! 13 4.39%
I'm a non-smoker but I don't think we should stop people from smoking in restaurants if they want to 18 6.08%
Voters: 296. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 09.05.2005, 16:59
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Smoking in restaurants

Warning - this post comes from a militant non-smoker - people who think it is their right to impose toxic chemicals on others should press the back button of their browser now!

In many countries such a topic would not be controversial, since legislation has taken care of such issues. Unfortunately the prevailing opinion seems to be a little different here. But anyway I will now have the dubious honour of being the first person to bitch about something in the complaints corner....



I've just returned from 7 months overseas (I was in Cape Town). So naturally I'm having a few problems readjusting, despite having lived in Zurich for the last five years. In Cape Town I ate out every night, the food was excellent, inexpensive, but probably the nicest thing was I never once had to "enjoy" other people's cigarettes with my meal.

I must say it hit me as quite a shock as to how bad the situation concerning smoking in restaurants really is. It annoyed before but I guess I just got so sick of complaining about it that I was forced to accept it. Well I've decided - no longer!

I found a website called rauchfreiessen.ch (site is in German). Great - this is a positive step - they maintain a list of smoke free restaurants. So I look how many there are in Zurich.... about 50. But hang on, many of these (like Starbucks) aren't restaurants. So maybe there are just 30 - not many for a city the size of Zurich. A further 35 have a separate area for non-smokers.

I followed some links and found some more resources. At this site I found this text:

Quote:
Im Kanton Zürich sind Restaurants vom Gastgewerbegesetz (§ 22) her verpflichtet, einen Teil ihrer Plätze in einer Nichtraucherzone zu führen. Leider halten sich nicht alle daran und in vielen Fällen sind die Zonen nicht wirklich getrennt.
So for those that can't read German this basically says that it is law in Zurich that restaurants must make a part of their restaurant a non-smoking area. Unfortunately this is not always the case and in many cases the areas aren't properly separated.

So is there anything we can do apart from only going to the small number of restaurants which are smoke free? If this is law then why is it not being obeyed? Who is responsible for enforcing the law?

Does anyone know where a copy of this law (preferably online) could be obtained, or if we can see the text? If there anything that concerned residents can do or say about the situation? What positive steps could be taken?

One idea I had was a letter writing campaign. Maybe people could download pre-prepared form letters and post them to restaurants that they visit wondering why they are not in compliance with the law, and explaining that they will not visit anymore. Probably a waste of time - but hey, I'm trying to be positive and think of ways to change things.

After all, if the ITALIANS could do it surely anybody can do it! The Irish don't even allow smoking in their pubs anymore!

Here's some resources for anyone else wanting to do some investigation - please let us know if you find anything interesting - not just statistics, but positive suggestions about what we can do to try to change the situation.







(the last site is also in English)

Let's not forget everyone - Zurich is, according to the Mercer survey, the best city in the world for quality of life. Right?

Comments anyone?

Mark
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  #2  
Old 09.05.2005, 23:32
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

I agree with everything you said about smoking in restaurants. In fact, when we first came to Zurich I could not believe how bad it was as it had been a very long time since I'd been forced to inhale someone else's smoke. We got up and left one restaurant after complaining and nothing was done to accommodate our request. I think we were just blown off as "ugly Americans." Sad to say, I'm starting to get used to it, but would definitely prefer non-smoking restaurants.

Why is Zurich rated so high for quality of life? I really don't see what's so great about it. Crime is low, but it does exist. I've only seen the results, not the criteria.

Back to smoking in restaurants: what about a letter to the editor of the local newspaper?
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Old 09.05.2005, 23:51
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Where else have you lived? If you cant see that the standard of living in CH is MUCH higher than most other places I am really surprised.

Re the smoking issue, I certainly agree that the Swiss so smoke much more than Americans, but you have done the right thing by leaving the resturant. that way you remain unsullied and everyone else has a pleasant evening without having to listen to you moaning constantly. Mybe you are "ugly Americans"
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Old 10.05.2005, 00:02
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

RWEF,

I don't agree with your point of view, but I support your right to express it - this is after all a forum for the exchange of opinions.

However, sinking to a personal level and making comments like "ugly Americans" is not really necessary don't you think?

Wouldn't it be nice if we, so often the victims of discrimination from the "majority" population, could refrain from mudslinging each other based on our nationality? Surely we don't have to stoop to that kind of behaviour?

Maybe we can start another thread on what we believe to be a good standard of living, or whether Switzerland really is the land of milk and honey - and then we can really start slinging mud around

Mark
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Old 10.05.2005, 08:52
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Hi everyone,

I'm a non-smoker and I have learnt to be more tolerant here of the smoke. I come from Melbourne (Aust) where like the Irish, smoking is even banned in pubs.

I think the root of the problem isn't the smoke but the ventilation. I eat out often in Zurich and there have been times where I only notice the person in the table close to me (italian style tables) smoking when I see it. The ventilation is so good that you don't realise it. You don't often find this in Zurich but it is there and I think this is the way to go. One place where this comes to mind is Contrapunto nr Paradeplatz.

Yes, smoking is bad for you blah blah blah but live and let live I say. I think both sides should get together and require this to be done instead of trying to encroach on each other's rights.

This is to my knowledge the way things are done in Norway (extra good ventilation is required by law).

This banning of ciggies "everywhere" is just a cheap way out. Just as having a glass of wine after a meal just gives it a nice finish, I understand that for some, this also involves a light up.

~ Nanda.
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Old 10.05.2005, 10:13
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

I quite agree that ventilation would be a good solution. Alternatively, a glass devision could be placed between the smoking and non-smoking section. That way, non-smokers are not subjected to second hand smoke and smokers can enjoy their cigarettes. However, I think its just wrong to subject small children and babies to second-hand smoke! Pregnant women and families often do not have a choice...

I just resent going to the restaurant, asking to sit in non-smoking area and all they do is remove the ashtry from my table! It particularly irritates me, as it is acutally required by law to have seperate smoking and non-smoking sections.

Last edited by Lynn; 10.05.2005 at 12:06. Reason: spelling error
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Old 10.05.2005, 11:15
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Whew...thanks for your support. I'm not sure how to do it, but a new thread on Zurich quality of life is a great idea. Can you get one going? My question was not meant to be an irritant or a division of nationalities. We have enough politicians running around doing that on our behalf! I don't know what the selection criteria was or what other places were compared to Zurich, e.g. health services, social services, public transportation, crime, cost of living, job market, culture...European cities/worldwide cities??? (Love this forum.)
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Old 10.05.2005, 11:44
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

reply to mark

Thanks for "upholding my right of reply!" However if you actually read the flow of threads , you would have noticed that my earlier reply was in responce to RWB, who was actually the person who applied the self discription of "ugly americans". I did NOT do anything apart from suggest that maybe it was true.
I note you discribe yourself as " victim of the majority population" - that is the nature of being in a "foreign country". I wouldnt discribe my residency in the US as being a pleasant experience, but find being in CH a great experience.

Finally to put the cat amongst the pidgeons,and in comment to Lynn, i would much rather have some cigarette smoke than be surrounded by children and babies (especially when breastfeeding) - this is far more likely to put me off my food.
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Old 10.05.2005, 12:31
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Quote:
However if you actually read the flow of threads , you would have noticed that my earlier reply was in responce to RWB, who was actually the person who applied the self discription of "ugly americans". I did NOT do anything apart from suggest that maybe it was true.
I stand corrected on this point, but still feel it was a personal attack, and not necessary. Sensible discussions are hindered when we do such things.
Quote:
I note you discribe yourself as " victim of the majority population" - that is the nature of being in a "foreign country". I wouldnt discribe my residency in the US as being a pleasant experience, but find being in CH a great experience.
I'm sorry, but I said no such thing. My comments were referring to the fact that all(most, some, a few) foreigners are the victims of discrimination in this country. Surely even you, having lived here for a presume a reasonable amount of time would agree with that.

Unfortunately in such discussions people often say "yes" but every country is like that. Personally this bugs me. I often reply "no it's not - how many countries have you lived in?". So with respect to discrimination - I disagree, there are countries which are far more tolerant of foreigners than others. This is not one of them. I'm not sure if you possess Swiss nationality or not, but if you do - I'm sure you enjoy paying lower car insurance premiums than I do. This might make you happy, but I can't see a moral justification for it in my case.

My point regarding the discrimination was that since "some" of us "may" feel as though we are "sometimes" discriminated against here, we should find a common bond. Starting to have a go at the guy because he was American or bringing specific examples from other countries (for example, you didn't like your time in the states) just inflames passions in an unproductive way. I just thought it was a shame, and wasn't the purpose of this thread, which was to discuss smoking in restaurants.

Quote:
Finally to put the cat amongst the pidgeons,and in comment to Lynn, i would much rather have some cigarette smoke than be surrounded by children and babies (especially when breastfeeding) - this is far more likely to put me off my food.
Well I don't have any children, nor am I a mother. But there are a lot of mothers out there, and I'm sure they will have something to say about that!

I guess smokers would argue that they want to go somewhere to smoke. Non-smokers would argue that they want to go somewhere to eat without smoke. Both are in my opinion valid arguments. My original point is that the current situation does not cater to the needs (or in my opinion rights) of non-smokers. There is almost nowhere for them to go apart from to stay at home. Sure separated areas, good ventilation would be workable solutions. In fact this is already law in Zurich, but nobody follows it, or seems to care about it. If I complain about my right to breathe fresh air everybody acts like I am some sort of health policeman. My health is important to me, if it isn't important to other people - fine, I have no problem with what other people do to themselves. I just don't want them doing it to me.

So let me ask you this - how does this translate into a good quality of life for non-smokers? In other countries where I have lived (which is quite a few) I enjoy eating out in restaurants almost every night. For me, that is part of my quality of life. I've learnt to stay at home more since living here.
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Old 10.05.2005, 12:42
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Just to clarify things. I am not a mother nor am I pregnant. However, I was a child of a smoker growing up. I was merely trying to draw attention to a large part of the population who are unable to express their views in this forum or in political debate. As for crying babies and breastfeeding, it is a simple fact of life. Families also have the right to a good quality of life and that should not exclude them from eating out. Maybe we should have a seperate family section too
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Old 10.05.2005, 13:02
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Quite frankly this is becoming a little tedious and having made a couple of short points i shall withdraw and wish you all luck.

1. my comment was NOT a persoanl attack and im sorry if you or anyone else took it that way. get a life!
2 I'm a white West Indian who is gay and not a swiss national. My partner comes from tiny farm community in berne and I can honestly say that i have not suffered from "discrimination" - although there is surely plenty of scope. i have only met pleasant people here. Although i stay away from the "english speaking" environment and attempt to integrate - fairly sucessfully. I also refrain from complaining all the time which is perhaps one reason that i am slightly more content in this country. I'm sorry about your higher insurance policy costs but since i work for an insurance entity i get free cover. (this is tongue in cheek before it lauches another wave of viriol)
3. If the sole definition of quality of life is the ability to eat in resturants then i pity you.
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Old 10.05.2005, 13:29
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Hi RWEF,

I'm sorry if I mistakenly thought your style or your words were personal or off topic. But I guess phrases like "get a life" and "I pity you" might be considered by some as a bit unnecessary. Try an emoticon or two next time

I'm glad you have managed to integrate well, many of us have. Some of us have no contact to expats (like me in my first 3 years), some of us complain about everything, some of us complain about some things. It takes all sorts I guess. You've obviously worked out a way to live here which makes you happy, and I guess since you aren't bothered by smoking this is easier for you. Everyone has a different experience of Switzerland and a different opinion.

Anyway, this thread was supposed to be about smoking issues, and since it is in the complaints corner complaining is ok. So let's get back to the topic.

I wish you the best of luck and hope to see you again in another thread sometime.

Mark

P.S. Eating in restaurants is not my sole definition of quality of life, but it is one of them. Don't pity me, I can look after myself.
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Old 12.05.2005, 00:07
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Quote:
Where else have you lived? If you cant see that the standard of living in CH is MUCH higher than most other places I am really surprised.

Re the smoking issue, I certainly agree that the Swiss so smoke much more than Americans, but you have done the right thing by leaving the resturant. that way you remain unsullied and everyone else has a pleasant evening without having to listen to you moaning constantly. Mybe you are "ugly Americans"

Well, Switzerland certainly has a high standard of living but of course there's also 'Quality of Life' too: Not necessarily the same thing. I have to say that given the rather incredible standard of living here, a lot of people don't seem to be so happy.

Regarding the smoking issue, I'm all for tolerance even though I don't and never have smoked myself. So long as the ventilation or segregation is good it's not a problem. If I really can't stand it, then I'll simply not frequent the restaurant.

I really feel that this anti-smoking thing is the thin end of the wedge and the next target will be alcohol. In fact it's already happening in the UK and Ireland. In a country where so many things are heavily controlled, I think it's good to see a vice openly displayed.


Gav
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Old 13.05.2005, 15:48
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Hi Gav,

An interesting point there about quality of life and standard of living being 2 separate things. Maybe that could be the topic of discussion for a separate thread. Also interesting point about whether people are happy. Well according to some survey that I can't remember the Swiss were the second happiest in the world next to Iceland. Yet the suicide rate is sky high. Logical conclusion: they are lying about being happy because they wouldn't want anyone in another country to think that everything wasn't perfect No only kidding, but interesting isn't it?

I did read another article once that said that people in direct democracies generally reported higher feelings of happiness. The theory being that the more degree of control you feel you have over your environment, the happier you are. Well since we don't have any participation in the democracy maybe that is why we hang out in the complaints corner and bitch and moan

Anyway, back to the topic. Yes, I think everyone agrees that separation would be a good compromise (provided also that children are not allowed to sit in a smoking section since they don't get a say in the matter). Ventilation also goes without saying. So the mystery is why don't we usually have either? I think the reason is that either there are so few non-smokers in this country (by subtraction 60% are non-smokers) or they have become so accepting of the situation that there's no pressure to change.

I wondered how long it would take before the alcohol question came up... Sure I'm all for displaying vices (the Japanese openly read porn in public which I think is a great laugh) but just as long as that vice doesn't damage *my* health.

I've seen the future of controls on alcohol, Australia started implementing programs about this ages ago, and I think the UK/Ireland are slowly starting to take some of them up. At first I thought it was a bit stupid, but when you think about the way drinking and driving and other alcohol related incidents can shatter someone's life it isn't always bad. I mean we all like to go and get totally bladdered from time to time, but is it really necessary to keep serving a person who has obviously had enough? That's the way things were heading in Australia (as far as I know), everybody had to do courses in responsible serving of alcohol, I guess there must have been some great modules in the course like how to tell if someone is pissed....

I only saw this come into force once. I was in a very fancy restaurant in Sydney with a British guy who was getting a bit loud and ordering beers like XXXX (not done in a nice place). When it came time for the desert wine the rather polite response was "Let's just see how you go with that one sir". Then I knew that the waiter was following these guidelines / laws. Needless to say my friend was not happy.

Just think, maybe in the future in the UK and Ireland people will have to have brawls WITHOUT getting drunk first. Oh, I forgot they already do that...

Mark
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Old 13.05.2005, 17:14
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Smoking in restaurants or anywhere is just plain disgusting. I have never seen so many people smoking as here in Europe. I never go to any restaurants, first because of the smoking issue (i can't stand cigarette smoke, can you tell, LOL)

But i am also disgusted in the fact of how many young teenagers are already smoking... Some of them are not older than 13 years old.....

People are extremly intolerant when it comes to the smoking... I have two little children, age 4 and I do NOT want either myself or my kids have to inhale that nasty habit. Nahh, you will never see me in a swiss or european restaurant, unless it is smoke FREE
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Old 13.05.2005, 17:47
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Couple of comments:

The suicide rate of Switzerland isn't exactly "sky high". http://jessen.ch/images/suicide-statistik
It's perhaps a little higher than the European average (even if that graph is from 1998),

Alcohol controls don't work. Sweden has had strict controls for decades and Kopenhagen was/is besieged by drunk Swedes.
There was a "campaign" at some point: "Keep the city clean, take a Swede to the ferry".
If you need to control alcohol, tax it.

Bans and regulations - in the UK they're just now talking about banning groups of people from wearing
"hoodies" and baseball caps - it it threatening and keeps their faces of the CCTV (Britain is the CCTV nation of the world).

If you think Switzerland is strictly regulated, look at Britain to see what happens without regulation.
In the news last night, Britain was pronounced "a nation of casual violence". And that was the PM talking.

Smoking in restaurants - Switzerland is a little worse than other places, but Denmark, France, Holland and Britain certainly aren't much behind. Germany is better, but that could have changed since I lived there. Greece is terrible, as is Italy and Spain.
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Old 13.05.2005, 17:58
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Yeah i have heard that Italy is even way worse. I so hope that this will change... it might take years, but i truly hope so, as it is such a disgusting habit and one that kills you
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Old 15.05.2005, 20:35
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

I was reading today through all people responses and thought of not say anything at all...
The reason why I responed is following---it all got off by insults and judgement...this REFW (an indian gay guy) probably did not just have a bad start of a day...but its for my point of view a bit to intolerant and judgemental...i mean this comments like "i pity you" are just too much...and why would you pity someone?--
i believe that none of us has a right to judge how other people lead their lives or what is considered for them a good quality of life...if mark finds happiness eating out often, its great by me...again, if this man says his experience here was always superb, then i think he is also not telling us the whole truth...and subjects like this are as well trivial comparing to other ugly events happening all around us...what happened with tolerance, understanding, and exceptance? This world is lovely place, but what happened to the people? Do not we all need a bit more of everything? From man-bashing to smokers-bashing, there are millions of more creative topics...

Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
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Old 15.05.2005, 20:51
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

Quote:
I was reading today through all people responses and thought of not say anything at all...
The reason why I responed is following---it all got off by insults and judgement...this REFW (an indian gay guy) probably did not just have a bad start of a day...but its for my point of view a bit to intolerant and judgemental...i mean this comments like "i pity you" are just too much...and why would you pity someone?--
i believe that none of us has a right to judge how other people lead their lives or what is considered for them a good quality of life...if mark finds happiness eating out often, its great by me...again, if this man says his experience here was always superb, then i think he is also not telling us the whole truth...and subjects like this are as well trivial comparing to other ugly events happening all around us...what happened with tolerance, understanding, and exceptance? This world is lovely place, but what happened to the people? Do not we all need a bit more of everything? From man-bashing to smokers-bashing, there are millions of more creative topics...

Follow the three Rs: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
Simone, i am not sure i understand what you are trying to say. But you mentioned that we do not have the right to judge how other people lead their lives or what is considered for them a good quality. Well I do share a different opinion. I think i have as much a right to eat out in a restaurant WITHOUT having to breathe in the most disgusting and poisoning smell of either a cigarette or cigar. Well obviously i do NOT have that right, that is why i do NOT go to any restaurants here anymore. But you know what I think this is wrong, if they want to kill themselves, fine, i have no problem with that, but i do have a serious issue, if someone is smoking infront of me or my kids, as we should have choice to breathe in fresh air, kwim? Does that make any sense??
My best friend (who lives back in the US, but she grew up here in Switzerland) called me yesterday to let me know that her mother just died past thursday of Lung cancer. This woman has never smoked in her entire life, BUT her husband. Second hand smoking is even worse then first hand smoking, as it is not filtered.
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Old 15.05.2005, 21:26
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Re: Smoking in restaurants

i know that they are insensitive smokers out there, but i also believe that we should all smokers and non-smokers have a same right...i am just a bit more tolerant...when it comes for children this is another issue...nobody likes that smell, its horrible, but i just wanted to say if we were a bit more energetic about other issues in this world, we might just have a perfect world...there are places that have very good ventilation systems, and some do not...there are as well places for just non-smokers...i lived with many smokers and non-smokers, and never heard anyone complain...smoking is horrible, but we have to know all that money is taxed as well...for me the worse is drugs and alchocol, and child prostitution--that also kills many innocent lives...then earthquakes and what happend in Indonisia is horrible for me and worth my attention and time, not smokers and non-smokers...but we are all different...i understand your frustration and respect your views, but we all have live together...some smokers shd learn that the ciggies smell bad, especially cigars, i hate them personaly as well...but, what can i do? i will simply remove myself, and noone will know if i liked it or not...and will continue to live happily my harmonius life in peaceful switz, that many on this planet do not have at this very moment...
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