There, that got your attention, didn’t it? Before you get up in arms, I’m not talking about the cities, the people or the food. I’m so obsessed with Europe it’s not funny. But if I could change one thing, I would. And I’m talking about one little thing in particular.
Teenagers do it. The elderly do it. Couples do it. Parents do it whilst holding their babies.
I’m talking about smoking. That disgusting, addictive habit that Europeans seem to be so fond of. As a non-smoker, I am so against it and hate the taste of my food when it’s mixed with the stale stench of burning cigarettes. Not smoking is something that was instilled into me at primary school in a dark van that came once a year, with a talking giraffe puppet that told us not to smoke. It might also be a bit self-righteous, but I hate seeing parents clutching a baby or toddler or small child in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Why. Health. Ugh.
Europeans are notorious smokers and don’t care who knows. You might be out for a nice dinner and then BAM, someone lights up a cigarette beside you. Another place that you might be surprised people can smoke is in nightclubs.
Last week, we were at a club in Hvar, Croatia, and my cousin flinched and yelled “Ouch” before dragging me to the bathroom. “What?” I asked her.
“She burnt my hand,” My cousin exclaimed, running it under the cold water.
Confused and a little tipsy, it took me a while to twig what burnt her, so I asked her with what. Her cigarette. While this girl was going crazy on the dance floor, she accidentally swung her cigarette and burnt my cousin’s hand. This is something I’m so not used to dealing with. It seems weird to me that apparently Australians and British are the only ones who know the risks of lung cancer and the connection of cigarettes to that.
Thankfully, the majority of restaurants that you’ll visit in Europe have banned smoking indoors, but there’s no way to avoid it at outside cafes, beaches or parks.
Here are 4 things you can do:
1. Some places will have a non-smoking section.
Try and sit there if possible if you care about smoke, as you’ll have a more pleasant meal without the added *bonus* or second-hand smoke.
2. Sit upwind from a smoker or, if you can’t move or were there first, ask the smoker if they can move so that you are upwind of them.
This might be met with a glare, but I’m sure some people will oblige.
3. Ask them to blow their smoke the other way
Most will oblige, although we did have an obnoxious woman in Greece who told us “I can’t hold it with my other hand” and then proceeded to chain smoke as many as she could whilst glaring at us for the next half hour as basically a huge “F*** you” to us.
4. Try and ignore it
This post is basically just a warning. Europe is insanely beautiful, but if you hate smoking, obnoxious smokers and breathing pristine air which has become polluted with smoke, then it’s likely that you’ll just have to grin and bear it. Unfortunately.
***I understand that there are smokers out there who try to respect others and have common courtesy when it comes to those who don’t smoke. This post comes from me being a little annoyed at those who can’t respect others***