Good Lord! They Never Stop! Part 2...

So I'm back from Corfu, which kinda sucks

We did what I said in my last post and turned up nice and early to Manchester airport in order to take advantage of the bar and smoking area for a while before we had to get on the plane. We actually took a little too much advantage, as I has a bit of a sway on by the time we boarded, but I hid it well

Once out the other side of the airport in Corfu though, smoking rules are thrown out the window. Well, for the main part at least. It seems that since our last visit, the Government has decided it wants to enforce the smoking ban and one or two (only one or two) bars are going along with it

There's a pool and games bar in Ipsos near where we stay, so we often spend some time in there playing pool. This time, they had made it non-smoking. We didn't realise until we had bought drinks and asked for an ashtray
There's no shortage of pool tables round there though, so after that drink, we moved on

There's a quite popular cocktail bar at the end of the strip, called 'Dirty Nellies'. It's supposed to be an Irish bar, but there's nothing Irish about it. People who walk in there, very often crawl out
Not being used to non-smoking bars in Corfu, we did the same thing; bought drinks and then asked for an ashtray
We were only there for five minutes though, before the gaffer opened the front shutters and said we could smoke

Bars are a bit weird over there because of the perpetually hot weather. The typical bar is shaped like a rectangle, viewed from the short edge and split into two squares. The square at the back is a solid structure with doors or shutters that can be closed across the whole front. The forward square is usually a frame style structure with a roof (permanent or can be rolled back), sides and an open front with plastic screens that can be rolled out in wet weather

The rear area is non-smoking and the front can be smoking or not, depending if the shutters are in place

Of course nearly every bar or restaurant completely ignores the smoking ban, shutters or not. There's one that has no roof on the outside area and we went in there to avoid a rainstorm. When I asked if we could smoke inside, the gaffer brought us an ashtray and said he wasn't sending us to smoke outside in this weather

Unfortunate as it may be that a place like Corfu is being affected by the smoking ban, those were the only three bars in the whole area that seemed to be moving in that direction. Every other place was still totally ignoring the ban

One barkeep we talked to explained that they have a two tier system of hefty fines for bars caught flouting the ban, followed by closure of the bar for a third transgression. He wasn't arsed though and we were smoking inside while having that conversation, so enforcement obviously still isn't much of an issue

The tourists seem to take full advantage of it too. I've been waiting for an English person to complain about smoking in a restaurant, but so far nobody has even batted an eyelid, from any nationality. Sometimes I avoid sitting next to certain people in restaurants if I think they look like anti-smokers, only to see them light up five minutes after we've sat down

One Greek chap actually told me off this time. We were in a bar that was quite busy. There were some locals, some British ex-pats and us four tourists and we were all playing darts. The temperature got a little high for me, so I went and stood on the other side of the big open window, where there was a little bit of a breeze

One chap spotted me from inside and started shouting, "Why you outside? What's the difference? You come and smoke inside!"

Once I had explained I was only outside to cool down, he was quite happy again. It seems there are still plenty of rebels on the island who are willing to tell the Government where they can shove their smoking ban

So after two weeks of relaxing in a civilised and carefree environment, where smokers and non-smokers mingle without issue, we came home and remembered why we choose to get out of England as often as we can:

Tobacco firms accused of using gimmicks to subvert plain packaging

It's getting tedious, it really is. The anti-smokers brought in a hideous piece of legislation that stripped legal companies of their intellectual property. They must have known that if these companies could do anything to mitigate the effects of that law, they would do so. So what naughtiness have they been getting up to now?
Tobacco companies have been accused of undermining plain packaging laws by introducing gimmicks that ensure their cigarettes stand out from rival products but do not breach regulations.
This should be good. How do you go about undermining such a comprehensive law?
Philip Morris International redesigned its premium Marlboro range, adding bevelled edges and a new “pro-seal” closing mechanism to packets, the researchers found. This made packs “appear more premium and recognisable compared to other brands”, the researchers claimed.

Bevelled edges? What will these evil geniuses think of next? So was there anything else?


Nope. Bevelled edges are the only way that tobacco companies are apparently undermining plain packaging laws. If you ask me, if bevelled edges have the potential to undermine the plain packs laws, those laws must be bloody rubbish and not worth the effort

But wait, there is more. They're not just trying to undermine the packaging laws, they are also using words to confuse us
The report also pointed to the terms introduced by tobacco companies to describe the filters on their cigarettes, such as “advanced” or “firm”.
The researchers said previous studies suggested that such differentiating features “perpetuate the perceptions that some tobacco brand variants are less harmful than others

And colours too. Apparently
Tobacco companies have also responded to a ban on taste descriptions, such as “menthol” or “smooth”, by replacing them with names based on colour. Researchers said that banning terms such as “smooth” and “light” was meant to dispel the myth that certain types of cigarette are less dangerous, but that by teaching customers colour codes linked to the old descriptions, “misperceptions are likely to endure”.

Seriously, what the fuck goes through these peoples heads? You can't say a cigarette is menthol in case somebody thinks that means it's the secret to eternal youth, but you can't call it 'green' either? In case someone mistakes it for cheese and onion crisps? What?

The Labour MP Alex Cunningham, who was one of the key proponents of plain packaging laws, said: “No one should be surprised at the tobacco companies doing everything possible to protect their brands, undermine the law and grow their sales. Ministers must act to put an end to this practice.
Nobody should be surprised that the tobacco companies are doing what little they can to mitigate the effects of this hideous law. In the David and Goliath of industry versus tobacco control, the industry is going to come up with any little slingshot it can think of to redress the balance. The fact that these people are surprised just goes to show how stupid they are, but the fact that they think the Government should step in to outlaw bevelled edges or the word 'green', shows them up as total inept morons

So I get two weeks in the Corfu sun, living the life of the more tolerant and civilised people, but still have to come back to this nonsense. I did bring something of Corfu back with me though:

They might never stop, but I'm a patient man


JuliaM said...

Bucko said...