Subject: RE: smokers
Hello Margaret,

Re: Smoke-free environments in Europe

Although I am not absolutely allergic to tobacco smoke, I am extremely sensitive to it. Sitting in a smoky environment for dinner, certainly can ruin my enjoyment of a meal. Soooo, having just returned from tobacco-tolerant France and Italy ... let me tell you about my modestly successful strategy. Eating on an outdoor terrace (lots a good restaurants have terraces and patios) ensures that smoke, if present, will be quickly 'diluted' in the outside air. Get an outside-edge table ... it improves the odds of not being surrounded by smoke. Let the maitre d know, in the nicest way possible, that you are allergic/extremely sensitive to smoke and enlist his/her assistance. Keep a wonderful, little fold-out fan in your purse and ... if all else fails, be ready to gently and discreetly waft away the smoke. I have found that most smokers respond with consideration to a gentle indication that their smoke may be causing discomfort to others; however, I have also found that a too-direct approach can backfire. If eating indoors place yourself strategically, so that ventilation fans blow away, rather than toward you.

You are probably aware that you can reserve seats on trains in 'non-smoking' coaches. I did just that recently with a first class ticket on a Eurostar train from Florence to Milan. Sure enough my seat was in a non-smoking coach; however, at one end of the coach (the part that I had to walk through to get to the cafe) was a smoking compartment. It was equipped with swinging doors and plexiglass walls that stopped about a foot and a half from the ceiling! You get the picture ... argggg!

I imagine our smoking/non-smoking standards in Canada are similar to yours in Australia ... these are certainly not the standards in France and Italy.

Good luck.


Toronto, Canada