Belfast International Airport has introduced a new charge. After deciding to charge people £1 ($1.64) to drop off passengers and £1 for a clear plastic bag to put liquids in, now passengers are going to be charged £1 to use the smoking areas.
Airport officials defend the charges saying it costs them extra to maintain separate smoking areas, which are used only by a minority of the passengers.
Smokers will have to insert a pound coin into a coin slot to open the doors to the smoking area. Do you think this is fair? Take the poll below or sound off in the comments section!
One of the best parts of traveling is indulging in a few vices. The “hey, I’m on vacation!” attitude enables you to order dessert, have a glass of wine with lunch, and not worry about the calories you’re taking in, especially as you figure you’ll burn them off walking around museums or hiking the countryside. This photo by Flickr user eolone in Serbia shows some of the best travel food groups: the sausage group, the fried group, even the “hey, I’m in Europe!” tobacco group. Just switch out the water for a beer and you’d have the perfect guilt-free (for now) vacation meal.
Starting today in Spain, it is illegal to smoke in any enclosed space where the public gathers. This includes bars, cafes, and restaurants. It will also be illegal to smoke in school playgrounds and near hospitals. Smoking will even be banned from TV shows.
Spain joins a host of countries that have recently toughened up anti-smoking laws, including Finland, Egypt, and Syria. Countries with national health care systems are looking for ways to reduce costs, and getting people to give up an unhealthy habit is one way to do that. In the U.S., health insurance companies have been among the biggest proponents of anti-smoking legislation.
Living in Spain, it’s seems inconceivable to me to spend a night out on a juerga (pub crawl) and not come home smelling like an ashtray. Then again, I had a hard time believing British pubs would enforce the UK smoking ban a few years back, and they did.
Spanish bar and cafe owners aren’t happy, though. With the economic crisis some have already gone under, and others fear that customers will keep away. A Spanish law in 2006 seemed to have solved the problem by allowing smaller places to choose whether to be smoking or nonsmoking, while larger venues had to provide no smoking areas. Most smaller places chose to allow smoking, but a few did well by becoming bastions of clean air. Now everyone has to ban smoking, and those larger places that built special nonsmoking sections ended up wasting their money.
Police are distributing 30,000 scratch and sniff cards to homes in Rotterdam and The Hague to help people identify the smell of cannabis. That’s right, many Dutch people apparently don’t know what pot smells like. Just because something’s decriminalized doesn’t mean everyone does it.
While possession of up to five grams of pot and the cultivation of up to five plants is decriminalized, large-scale growing is illegal and authorities consider it a problem. The cops are hoping people will scratch the cards, take a good whiff, and then sniff around near their neighbors’ backyards and narc on them if they turn out to be growing something they shouldn’t be.
The cards also ask citizens to be vigilant in noticing if their neighbors keep their blinds closed, have ventilators running all the time, or use a lot of electricity.
This latest move appears to be attacking coffee shops from another direction. While some localities are closing shops down or making them members-only to keep out the tourists, the authorities recognize that illegal farms (up to 40,000 in the entire country, they estimate) are needed to supply the shops with weed.
[Photo courtesy user Bastique via Wikimedia Commons]
The charter airline is sympathetic to the feelings of smokers, a rarity in today’s world. Spend a few hours on a plane, if you’re in the habit of puffing, and the result is a nic fit with an intensity determined by the length of your flight. Cross the Atlantic, and that first opportunity to light up is impossible to describe.
No, Global Exec Aviation isn’t going to let you fire up in flight, but it will give you the next best thing. The airline is partnering with Blu Cigs, which makes electronic cigarettes. The devices emit a mist rather than smoke, and the vapor contains the nicotine that makes a long flight easier to bear. So, if you fly Global Exec, there will be Blu Cigs on hand for you.
“Definitely it’s the first step,” Jason Healy, president of Blu Cigs, says of the partnership with Global Exec Aviation of Long Beach. “It’s largely to gather feedback … and just highlight the fact it’s an option.”
Smoking has been prohibited on all commercial flights to, from and within the United States since 2000, USA Today reports, but charter flights can choose to allow smoking as long as they provide a non-smoking section.
For those hoping the Blue Cigs will be provided on commercial flights … don’t hold your breath. Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins told USA Today, “We have no plans to offer e-cigarettes, and we currently do not allow their use in-flight.” A spokesman for American Airlines says the same.
Jason Holi, one of the operations managers at Global Exec thinks that perspective might be a bit hasty:
“We’re in a customer-service industry,” Holi says. “If I have a passenger who’s a white-knuckle flier but a heavy chain smoker, I want to make it as accommodating as possible for him.”
Keeping your customers happy – what a novel concept!