Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Vent or ventilate?

Very soon, at Charles de Gaulle Airport, indoor smokers’ cabins will be installed in each wing of the Galerie Parisienne, and also in the corridors between Terminals 2D, 2F, and 2E. Overlooking the runways, each transparent Plexiglas cabin will accommodate up to 15 smokers at a time. Orly, on the other hand, will still restrict smoking to designated outdoor areas.

I gleaned this intriguing tidbit of information from the Aeroports de Paris magazine.

Here are a few interesting comments I’ve translated from the website of ExpairSystem, the manufacturer of the Smokers’ Cabins. Interesting, because in my mind it illustrates a difference between French and American views of smokers. In America, I think we tend to say “Just say NO to smoking!” Read on.

"Why Install a Space for Smokers?

Smokers’ cabins benefit everyone, both smokers and non-smokers.

They take into consideration both the respect for all those around us and the laws protecting all from second-hand smoke.

They protect non-smokers from secondhand smoke but also respect smokers in light of their tobacco dependence.

According to statistics, smokers still comprise 30% of the French population. They have rights to equal treatment. For some, cigarettes are a drug.

Being prevented from smoking can cause, in some cases, behavior that is aggressive and sometimes uncontrollable and stupid.

Because for these people, it's not easy to find a substitute for a cigarette.

Because it's not always easy to manage stress. So, what is the least harmful solution for their health: light up a cigarette or be prescribed antidepressants?

Because the absence of special smoking places can produce impolite behavior or improper behavior, potential risks of accidents (smoking in bathrooms, smoking in dangerous but hidden locations, hiding butts in seat cushions etc., which cause fires). Installation of smokers' cabins assures a plan based on practical solutions of managing smoking risks.

Because it can help your business -- you will not lose clients just because they can no longer smoke inside your establishment. In addition, non-smokers can visit your premises in total peace and enjoyment."

I saw one of these cabins (website http://www.expairsystem.com/) in use in a private club in Paris on rue de Rivoli last winter. I have to say it was pretty cool. The smoker was on the inside, leaning on the mini-zinc having a glass of wine and a cigarette, and he could still see and converse with his non-smoking friends outside the Plexiglas, through the ventilation holes. Not a whiff of smoke outside the cabin. And not that horrible stale tobacco odor lingering on the clothing of the smoker who's just come in from the cold, because in the cabin the smoke gets pulled away immediately.

I wonder. Only 20% or so of Americans smoke cigarettes, last I heard. Would we be this pragmatic? Should we vent about smokers or ventilate them?


Michelle said...

I laughed out loud when I first read this, but I actually think, as bizarre as it seems, that it is not such a bad idea. In Australia it is forbidden to smoke in so many public places. But what tends to happen is outside doors of shopping centres, airports, pubs. . . and anywhere people gather, so do the smokers. So there is no choice but to walk through a thick cloud of seond hand smoke.

On an unrelated note, I have not smoked for over 23 years, but when I was in Paris I was finding myself longing for a cigarette. It was really quite strange as I have been one of those boring reformed smokers for many many years.

Starman said...

Perhaps the hostile French smokers would benefit from EFT therapy.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Michelle, I had the same reaction initially too. Iguess my take from this is that in France they don't condemn the smokers, just the smoke.

Starman-- EFT? Electronic Funds Transfer? Sorry, I'm clueless.
Anyway I don't think they're perceived as hostile so much as crazed when nicotine-deprived.

Sylvie Mamilie said...

Can you give me the address and the name of the private club street of rivoli equipé of the space smoker? I shall like seeing myself for what it re-seems and to make me an idea. There are maybe things to be made;;; it seems to have some respect for the persons by taking into account all the differences it is maybe one solutions???

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