Some of my best friends are smokers and I have no problem with an individual exercising their right to smoke but PLEASE; not all over me. Here is a nightmare scenario for me: I'm sitting outside at a cafe enjoying the lovely fresh air and having a coffee + croissant. Some strangers approach and even if there are 20 empty tables, they choose the one right by me. They settle down, whip out their cigarettes, light up and blow wafts of smoke all over me without a care in the world. That is exactly what happened to me yesterday when three men speaking rapid Italian parked themselves directly in front of me at the Accra Mall. I was livid. Maybe I'm annoyed with myself because I did not rant and spew vitriol all over them. Mmm...blogging is like a powerful outlet for passive aggressive people everywhere!
Smoking in Ghana is an interesting phenomenon.You hardly see people smoking in public but when you go out at night, swarms of smokers come out of hiding. Well, maybe these folks are mostly social smokers. There is something socially unacceptable about smoking in Ghana. Seeing a woman smoke is almost considered an abomination and there is an unflappable stereotype that a woman smoking by herself in a club/pub is a commercial sex worker! Warning to all you ladies who may find yourself flying solo out at night ciggie in hand.
I have always been fascinated with smoking. I remember visiting Geneva in my mid-teens and being shocked that everyone seemed to be smoking! It was like being in a 1950s film....you know the type of movie where a doctor offers you a cigarette in his office or where smoking is glamorized by Audrey Hepburn. Alas, it is now a well established fact that smoking is a major risk factor for lung cancer and a myriad of other cancers. Passive smoking is no better and many industrialized countries have welcomed public smoking bans in the past few years.
What I find interesting about Ghana is the lack of real legislature governing smoking in public in Ghana. Last year there was talk (there is always talk!) about a smoking ban coming into effect in November last year. What became of that? Will Ghanaians be able to enforce such a ban?