There is one difference between Austria and Australia I haven’t mentioned yet, and while it’s certainly becoming less and less noticeable… noticeable it still is. In Australia, after years of campaigning, hiking up cigarette prices and banning of smoking pretty much everywhere, it seems these days that barely anyone smokes. But in Austria, it is much more widespread – you can smoke almost everywhere and cigarettes are cheap (and if you want cheaper ones just cross the border to Slovenia).
I’m certainly not campaigning for or against. You know what, if you want to smoke then I say that’s your decision. The problem, of course, comes from non-smokers being caught up in it. I don’t mind the smell of cigarette smoke drifting across me when I’m out and about, but if I’m eating a meal inside and I come out smelling like it… well, I have to say I don’t like it.
The first few times I went out in Austria to a pub or club, I remember how bizarre it felt, smelling heavily of smoke. Somehow it seemed poetic, taking me back to the way it was when I was a teenager growing up in Australia. I still remember when they changed the laws in Oz… at first it was weird… pubs didn’t quite smell right… or perhaps they’d always smelled like wet carpet and beer, it was just the smoke smell covering it up. But I quickly adapted, especially after realising I could wear the clothes I wore out again and again without washing, and showering before bed was no longer a necessity (if you didn’t want your pillow to reek of smoke in the morning).
There is plenty of resistance against smoking in Austria… and it’s mounting. They were set to bring in ‘smoke free zones’ in restaurants in May 2018, but it later got overturned. While many places do now have smoke free areas, it’s a little bit debatable… they may only be separated by a thin door, or that door may be open, or you have to walk through the smoking area to get to the poky non-smoking room. To be honest, hubby and I tend to choose where we go out based on not having to come home smelling like smoke.
I have to say, things have definitely changed since I arrived, and they will continue to do so. There are new laws due to be brought in at the end of this year, so we’ll see what happens. There’s a lot of talk about it in the news… which sometimes I understand… and other times not. In the meantime, I wear my ‘old clothes’ out when I know they’re likely to get smoky, and save my good ones for smoke-free.