This week life got a little bit harder for one of the most maligned groups in our society — and I say ‘good’.
Smokers in Victoria are now banned from lighting up at outdoor areas at cafes and restaurants where food is served.
It is a gradual change to the growing restrictions on the rights of smokers, as more and more areas become declared as no-smoking zones.
Although most people support the move, whenever smoking restrictions increase you hear the same old ‘‘woe is me’’ whinges from the entitled smokers who believe they have the right to blow cancerous smoke in your face.
According to a report in The Age, owners of cafes in the Melbourne suburb of Oakleigh had decided to scrap outdoor dining instead of daring to ask old men to light up somewhere else.
‘‘What a lot of people don’t understand is that taking a cigarette away from an elderly Greek man is like taking away everything he’s got,’’ Giorgio Sfrantzis, acting manager of a popular Greek restaurant told The Age.
It goes a long way to the general sense of entitlement so many smokers have.
Any rule change or new restriction and the smokers will be up in arms and declare the rest of us party-poopers for ruining their fun.
Back when the first round of smoking bans were announced the smoking advocates predicted doom and gloom in the hospitality industry if smokers were forced to show a decent amount of manners and not light up at the pub.
The Australian Hotels Association warned in 2004 the bans would cost thousands of jobs across the industry.
A decade on, their Chicken Little doom-mongering looks way off the mark.
People still loving going out and having a drink and quite a lot of us enjoy it a bit more know that we don’t have as much smoke in our face.
And just walk outside and you will see the evidence of the entitlement of the smokers that feel they can use the world as their personal ashtray.
Walk in any park or street and you will see discarded cigarette butts everywhere from the lazy smokers who cannot put their rubbish in the bin.
If anyone else were to just throw away our rubbish on the street we would get abused and probably cop a fine, but if a smoker does it people just turn their head and accept it.
Before smoking was banned, I still loved going out with my mates for a few drinks, but I hated the morning after.
As an asthmatic I would wake up with a rough cough from all the second-hand smoke, and my long hair would smell like Satan’s ashtray for at least a day.
I say the smoking bans do not go quite far enough.
If people want to spend a stupid amount of money on a bad habit, let them do it, but why should they be able to light up in public?
If I never smell another cigarette that will be just fine with me, and I’m sure that will be okay with the vast majority of us who don’t light up.
Barclay White is a News journalist.