Thursday, February 16, 2006


No Smoking!

Over the past week, the New York Times has reported two related items in the area of smoking, and non-. In an item from Washington, DC, they report that a citywide smoking ban does not include the houses of the US Congress. And from England, we read that smoking will soon be banned in indoor public places there, too.

On the former, well, it's nothing new that DC rules do not apply to federal government property. Still, where the feds, too, have banned smoking from most of their workplaces, it seems reactionary for congress to continue holding out. According to the article, in fact:

Because while the rest of the country has turned against smoking with great zeal, Congress has stubbornly — some would say proudly — refused to bend. Smoking is still allowed in numerous indoor spaces in the Capitol, most noticeably in the gilded reception area where lawmakers crowd together during the long yeas and nays.
On the other hand, they don't seem so proud when one reads on:
Members are uncharacteristically shy about discussing their smoking habits in a public domain where smoking is supposedly taboo. Not one smoker-lawmaker contacted for this article returned the call. Photographs of lawmakers smoking are virtually impossible to come by
If they feel a need to hide it, maybe that should tell them something.

Turning to the latter article, I learn that smoking has for some time been banned in Ireland, and that a similar ban has already been passed for Scotland and Northern Ireland. That leaves only Wales, and they're working on it. As the Times says, this

[...] seemed certain to end the time-hallowed traditions of the smoky British pub, where a pint of ale and a cigarette once defined the downtime of generations.
Espace non fumerIndeed; in 1979 I spent some time working in England, at IBM's Hursley Lab, near Winchester, and evenings at the nearby pub, the King's Head, were always spent in a smoky haze. It would be wonderfully refreshing to me now to go back there, and to be able to spend the evening sipping pints of Bass in clean air.

Which is to say that this is a change I applaud wholeheartedly — or perhaps "whole-lung-edly". Now let's see if someone can work on the French.

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