Come smoke with me

We went to another cracking night’s comedy at Mojo on Saturday (the next English Comedy Night is January 16th, by the way), and as before all three comedians commented on the fact that you can smoke just about anywhere in Romania.

Said the compere:

‘At this stage of the evening I would normally say “We’re taking a short break now so you can go outside and smoke.” As you have all been smoking all night anyway, I’ll just say “We’re taking a short break.”‘

Loud cheers all round.

And then it struck us: why doesn’t Romania start marketing itself as ‘The Smoking Section of Europe?’

So many European countries have smoking bans in place now (most recently Poland) that Romania really is one of the last places holding out. Indeed, it at times feels as though the country is pursuing an aggressive policy of promoting smoking, especially amongst the young.

It is taught in schools?

‘What lessons do you have today son?’

‘Double maths then double smoking’

There must be huge potential market in ‘Smoking Holidays.’ Selling the concept would be easy:

‘Remember what smoking a cigarette in a restaurant used to feel like? Come to Romania and relive the good times. Smokers even get priority in supermarkets!

Add in our proposal about turning Bucharest into a mini-Las Vegas and we see a massive opportunity going begging here.

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  • I feel you, I feel like I’m going back in history to when London hadn’t enacted an indoor smoking ban. Mind you, Barcelona and other places look pretty similar. Or used to, anyway, last summer.

    • Having said that, London was smoking last night…

      • They chose the one day when it didn’t rain to set stuff on fire…

      • Parmalat

        Just went again over all major conflicts in Romania post-1989, including Targu Mures 1990 and most mineriads. Complete coverage for them seems to have appeared out of nowhere on youtube.

        Ugly pieces of history, I could not believe how badly organized the police was back then: throwing back at rioters the stones which initially rioters had thrown at them.

        The army intervened in most cases but still they lacked the proper equipment and training, they could not do much except isolate the rioters from their targets by using trucks and armored cars.

        Out of all riots – including the Revolution – the only time when the forces of the state intervened properly was in February 1999 at Stoenesti, when they blocked the miners, beat the sh*t out of them and destroyed all logistical capability of the Jiu Valley sindicates.

        I think that’s the point where modern and democratic Romania started to emerge: Mugur Isarescu was soon named as prime minister and from 2000 on the Adrian Nastase cabinet successfully managed to drag the country from 10 years of incertitude.

  • I feel you, I feel like I’m going back in history to when London hadn’t enacted an indoor smoking ban. Mind you, Barcelona and other places look pretty similar. Or used to, anyway, last summer.

    • Having said that, London was smoking last night…

      • They chose the one day when it didn’t rain to set stuff on fire…

      • Parmalat

        Just went again over all major conflicts in Romania post-1989, including Targu Mures 1990 and most mineriads. Complete coverage for them seems to have appeared out of nowhere on youtube.

        Ugly pieces of history, I could not believe how badly organized the police was back then: throwing back at rioters the stones which initially rioters had thrown at them.

        The army intervened in most cases but still they lacked the proper equipment and training, they could not do much except isolate the rioters from their targets by using trucks and armored cars.

        Out of all riots – including the Revolution – the only time when the forces of the state intervened properly was in February 1999 at Stoenesti, when they blocked the miners, beat the sh*t out of them and destroyed all logistical capability of the Jiu Valley sindicates.

        I think that’s the point where modern and democratic Romania started to emerge: Mugur Isarescu was soon named as prime minister and from 2000 on the Adrian Nastase cabinet successfully managed to drag the country from 10 years of incertitude.

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  • Fraser

    Craig it does start to look like your Bucharest tourist paradise is a huge smoky casino with lots of working girls

    • Geronimo

      Where do I book my tickets?

      • Parmalat

        Good question, a casino ticket will cost 20 lei from 2011, Emil Boc decided so.

        • Yes, I saw this: charging to get into casinos. Another brilliant move from our dear leader.

    • Still say that’s a winner.

  • euh…you are so right about this! And I see some people even noticed some business opportunities here 😛
    When you live in countries that don’t allow smoking in public places, and then u get to Romania where you are invaded by the smoke… AUCH!
    What Romanians fail to understand is that smoking forces the other people to indirectly smoke also, even if they don’t want to. If you decide to take on drugs/supplements/etc, that will not really affect the health of a person sitting across the table from you in a restaurant …
    But Romania is for sure not only country to deserve this title. Greece should certainly join in 😀

    • clau2002

      As far as I know there are non smoking rooms in restaurants.Nobody force you to stay with the smokers.The fact is that you would stay all alone or with other septic freaks like you and miss all the fun!…On the other hand,when you hit someone across the table in the head with a beer bottle because the drugs in your brain makes you believe that that someone is a monster atacking you,I believe that it does REALLY AFFECT his health!….Not to talk about the health of drug related sexual abuse and rape victims!

      • oook….hey man! sorry if you took my comments in a bad way!it’s all in good spirit over here.i enjoy a lot going out in bucharest and the smoke is just one of the things i don’t really enjoy. i have tried the separates as u mention, but usually the smoke is everywhere in my experience (and that of course can be different from yours). Also, I think you can hit someone in the head with or without taking drugs or alcohol and …. that is valid for both western or eastern europe.
        sorry again!

        • You are right. Any attempts at creating separate smoking areas have been futile and pointless. Even where there are non-smoking sections people smoke there anyway, and the venues tolerate it because they want the custom.

          • Parmalat

            If they ban smoking from public places then I’m gonna break up with all my girlfriends because I don’t smoke, but they do so we won’t be able to hang out anywhere.

          • Mr Rearguard.

            Custom, what custom? Not very good customers in Bucharest. It appears that no one has any proper liquid cash anymore. Romanians along with the Expats are skint! I’m out in bars everyday and I see Romanians order a beer or coffee and make it last all day! If they’re just going to sit there smoking their cheap ciggies, can’t they just go home and smoke them? I reckon it should be a law that you can only smoke in bars if you’re going to spend at least 50Euro on the lash! I get fed up stinking of smoke because locals insist on hanging out in bars just to stare at me spending cash!

  • Geronimo

    I never had to wash my jumpers so much. Perhaps the Smoking Section campaign could be sponsored by Ariel?

    • You see, this idea is a winner all round.

    • Parmalat

      There were times in Bucharest when after a night out you ended up smelling like a furnace.

      Now shirts and t-shirts, even jeans were ok, you could wash them and the smell went out. But think about a blazer or an overcoat…

  • Ahmed Soliman

    “Smoking section of Europe” LOL

    Although in all fairness there are still many places where you can still smoke in restaurants and bars. Hungary and Germany come to mind. But for some reason in Romania smoking seems like a coordinated national activity. I never smell as bad as I do after a night out in our beloved Bucuresti.

    • Parmalat

      You should have seen how it was 10 years ago…

      • It used to be that Bucharest smelled of cheap cigarettes and onions. Now it just smells of cigarettes. That is progress of some kind, I guess.

        • Parmalat

          It smells of fine cigarettes instead of “Carpati” and “Plugarul” :))

          • Do they still make Carpati? I remember smoking them as a skint student.

  • Sorry, but you’re wrong – please, come to Greece, is worst than Romania. Nobody cares here about smoking ban!!!!

  • clau2002

    While smoking “MIGHT”kill you,mild drugs (illegal but mostly legal ones) will kill you without any doubt.So,in the end who”s better off?Romanians who don”t give a shit on what FDA has to say,or the so advanced and forward thinking westerners who avoid smoking or drinking a glass of wine but think is natural to end their meals with an antacid and stuff themselves with pills(energy supplements) twice a day and one more extra,when they need to boost their guts to take their dog out for a walk in the neighborhood!

    • Parmalat

      I thing westerners take antacid because of GERD, not because it’s considered a snack.

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