One unintended consequence of the smoking ban has been the rise of e-cigarettes. Although I have yet to see them in the flesh, with sales in excess of 1,000 every month for the £40 starter-packs, it can only be a matter of time before they are a common sight.
One can picture the scene. A packed restaurant with waiters and waitresses rushed off their feet. From his pocket of a young gentleman produces the e-cigarette and starts to partake. Silence. A young lady screams and faints; the passing chef returns to the kitchen to fetch his sharpest cleaver; the restaurant owner’s finger hits the first of three nines. Calm, the restaurant manager asks the man with his now mortified date to leave.
Deafly silence is broken by an explanation of the product, but confusion and consternation still reigns as the man refuses to be deterred. He continues to smoke while tucking into his poached langoustines. Faux coughs abound, surely it only a matter of minutes before the young gentleman will be hounded from the restaurant by his fellow dinners. However, the mob will grin and bare it tonight: the lady on the next table, a comrade, asks if she could try the e-cigarette. The baying mob has been held at bay, it is a small victory for freedom.
If the owner of any restaurant chooses not to allow smoking they should be free to make their restaurant non-smoking. Though, the alternate should also hold. Private property should be protected from the excessive regulations of an intrusive government. Let people be free to lead their lives in the manner to which they choose. Don’t regulate, nudge or even suggest. It is time to fight back, preferably with cohiba esplendidos rather than e-cigarettes.