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Being culturally sensitive to cigarette smoking but still avoiding it!

Being culturally sensitive to cigarette smoking but still avoiding it!

Old May 23rd, 2001, 06:23 PM
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Re: "The risk [of smoking] appears theoretical and remote."

Exactly, clairobscur! It's theoretical and remote, that is, until you get emphysema and/or lung cancer from smoking. When the lung cancer finally kills you, like it did my girlfriend's father, it becomes an unfortunate reality.

Of course, since we all know the risks of smoking now, if people choose to take that risk for themselves it's fine with me.
Old May 23rd, 2001, 07:33 PM
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"Laisser-faire" isn't just a cool French expression - it pretty much sums up the French attitude toward all behavior, including smoking and many other behaviors Americans find offensive. The reasoning in France is that personal behaviors are none of anyone else's business.This is at the core of French thinking, but it is of course anathema to the thinking of most Americans, who believe that the behavior of one person can be detrimental to the well-being of all people, and that we all should take action to condone or condemn it. Hence, we have an intrinsic problem between Americans and French.

Many travelers to France have experienced the problem of the "espace fumeur" in a restaurant. meaning that one table or two have been designated as "non fumeur," but they're always the tables right by the kitchen or by the door - in other words, they're undesirable tables. And we assume, and rightly so in most cases, that the owner has assigned those table because he is infuriated by the no-smoking rules now employed.

I don't know that there is any compromise between the American point of view on this issue and that of the French, but I do know that there are more and more restaurants, at least in Paris, that offer non-fumeur seats (though these may sometimes be in less than desirable positions in the restaurants). In the provinces, I'd have to say that the French prevail and Americans who have problems with smoke are less likely to find relief.

Personally, when I'm in France I assume I have to deal with French stuff, including more smoke than I'm used to at home, so I adjust. I assume that French people, exposed as they are these days to information about the risks of smoking, are taking some precautions.

Old Dec 11th, 2001, 09:21 PM
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To ze top, again!

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