Do you want to take this outside?

Do you want to take this outside?


Another locale's smoking ban hasn't spoiled the taste of stout



Minneapolis smokers have been predicting the next apocalypse as a result of the pending cigarette ban in city bars. (The scent of brimstone couldn't make your clothes smell any worse than a night at the 7th St. Entry, could it?) Some folks have even been heard to claim that they'll soon be drinking in St. Paul, a sort of Shangri La that disappears from the map at 5:00 p.m. each evening.


Though buttmen and buttwomen may be skeptical, apparently a similar smoking ban, now a year old, has hit Ireland like...well, if the metaphor fits...yes, like a breath of fresh air.


The Irish people, by the way, share our nation's deep and abiding friendship with the tobacco leaf. Some 24 percent of them smoke at least a cigarette a week, compared to just less than 22 percent of Minnesotans. On the eve of the fearful snuffing out of lighters, critics there predicted the ban might be, "the most calamitous cultural change in the country since the Great Famine of 1847." 


"People are going to be at one another's throats," one small-town publican told a reporter from The Guardian


Though exiled from pubs, these folks still seem to be surviving a year later, according to the British newspaper The Independent:


Bars have facilitated them in a variety of ways, often providing outside tables, gas heaters and ashtrays, and sometimes building on patios and lean-to shelters. This in turn has added a new dimension to social intercourse as the open-air smokers discuss the ban and other topics.


One hypothetical topic of conversation: Isn't it nice and quiet out here, away from those gobshites making merry with the lute and pennywhistle?

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