I climbed high up onto the bar stool, increasing my height easily over 6ft. I surveyed the room, yes yes, we were ready. The jazz was about to begin.

But wait, what is that unfamiliar feeling? Something’s amiss…

My eyes darted around the packed bar. Then I saw it. It rose quickly from multiple sources and headed straight for me. I tried to swerve out of the way but it was too late. I resisted as long as I could, but could not hold back any longer. I inhaled. It brutally attacked my nostrils, crawling up and down to my chest. Coughing. The dank smell thoroughly coating me.

In my mind the crowd had suddenly changed to this:

All credit to Villafane Studios

(All credit to Villafane Studios)

Grimacing and laughing and puffing away on fat cigars and cigarettes. Women and men alike were attacking me with their putrid fumes.

I was taken back to my teenage years where you’d get home at 3am, stumble drunk, and only smell of smoke. Of course, too tired to do anything about it, you’d sleep like that, hair reeking of smoke the following morning. Then there’s the [non-]smokers cough.

All in all, going out to a busy smoky bar is an unpleasant experience, breathing in fumes that have a negative effect on your body when it’s not your choice. Smoking is highly socially acceptable here (with the exception of Muslim women), with smoking sections in restaurants too.

Let us hope that it won’t always be the case, and I’m looking forward to enjoying a smoke-free night out!

Apologies for any preachiness – smoking is a personal choice, but please refrain from sharing it inside when we cannot escape!