Here in the south of Italy, a LOT of people smoke. Really, a lot. So, after having lived here for over 2 years now, I've had to get used to it. If you want to go anywhere, you have to be prepared to meet a whole load of smokers. If the smoke gets on my nerves too much, I just move away.
But this becomes somewhat problematic when people smoke inside. During the winter months, I'll be damned if I'm the one who has to go outside to get away from it! Now, this is not to say that all bars and restaurants have one of these special smoking rooms (smoking is technically banned inside, but there are ways around it...hence said smoking rooms), and even if they do, there's also another area where you can stay warm and smoke free. OK, so far so good. Ish.
It gets worse though. A good few shop owners actually smoke inside their shops. Now, I know the property is theirs, but it's technically a public place isn't it, so why are on earth are they sitting there greeting customers (I say greeting...I mean grunting at), surrounded by a cloud of smoke?? All I can say is YUCK. And how RUDE. I went into a coffee shop the other day and, after enjoying my espressino, went up to the cash resister to pay. I realised that there was a really strong whiff of smoke and... what do you know, the man behind the desk was puffing away without a care i the world. How is this ALLOWED?!
Here's hoping that this sort of thing will be stamped out in the future, because it's just plain horrible. Like a lot of things in southern Italy though, it may take a while... ;)