Friday, September 19, 2008

Say "Ja" to to the Rauchverbot


I love this ad that ran today in Blick am Abend, the local freebie paper that all the commuters in Switzerland read. The headline reads, "Criminalizing the Smoker?" The copy says something to the effect of, "The Canton of Zurich wants to create a total smoke free city. We believe banning things doesn't help. We rely on common sense. It's absurd that the government wants to control all our rights."

It pictures lots of things being banned--cars, drinking, dogs, bikes, smoke, and the best--questions. You get an idea for how regulated and rule-driven Swiss life is from this one little ad.

But what's really absurd is that most of the rules in Switzerland are petty. Things like, don't flush your toilet after 10pm. Don't do your laundry on Sunday. No shopping on Sunday, etc. etc.

Anyhow, this ad wants to get people to vote "no" on banning smoking in Zurich. The vote is on September 28. The last vote on this issue, held last year, failed to ban smoking.

So what I find absurd about all of this is that when it comes to things that effect health--proven, scientific research that second-hand smoke kills--this is the one rule that the Swiss just can't seem to pass. My dog must attend mandatory obedience class. Trash is strictly regulated. But my health is not.

It's absurd that I have no choice but to have smoke blown in my face every morning at the train station. It's absurd that my clothes have gotten little holes in them from cigarette ashes blowing on me as I try to board a train. It's absurd that a country so in love with rules can't pass the one that matters more than almost all of them.

If smokers keep their "rights," then what about non-smokers rights? I already gave up on eating out, think twice about going for a drink because that will also involve a shower, and hold my breath for as long as possible at the smokestack that is the main train station.

So while I wouldn't say we should criminalize smokers, as this ad claims, we non-smokers should have the right to breath something other than someone else's habit. I have nothing against designated smoking areas, I just want to step off a train and be able to breathe. Is that so much to ask? Come on Switzerland, if Italy can do it, anyone can.

5 comments:

Jessica said...

YES!!!! I am on board with all of that. Down with the smokers. Down with it all..

Ok, so I am not really making mobbing noises in my head, but I do think that the rights of non-smokers are definately overlooked here. I am be glad when Switzerland catches up with the rest of the world and Europe in regards to smoking regulations.

Swiss Miss said...

I couldn't agree more! Cross your fingers!

Jul said...

I never understood why the Swiss, a nation full of rule-lovers, had such permissive smoking laws. I mean come on, even the Italians have figured out how to ban smoking!

Swiss Miss said...

I know what you mean. And I'm disappointed that they didn't ban it for Oktoberfest in Munich. I mean, what are rules if you keep changing them?

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