Sweden’s Smoking Ban

The new smoking generation

Taking a walk through Stockholm’s streets has changed dramatically in recent years. The introduction of a café and restaurant smoking ban in Ireland’s footsteps in the summer of 2005 has pushed the people out onto the streets. Everywhere you walk there are small huddles of people sharing a moment with their little filter-tipped sticks of pleasure.

A recent visit to Paris made clear that this is more than simply a Swedish phenomenon. It began with Ireland, in March 2004, and in January this year the smoking ban reached the capital of café decadence and the non-filter Gitanes. A night on the tiles in the lively Oberkampf district was not what I had expected – the pubs were half empty. Their customers were on the streets in small groups enjoying a moment, and a cigarette, with their friends.

How has the ban in Sweden affected bars and clubs, and has the No Smoking Generation become the New Smoking Generation?

Ken Bruen. in his latest Jack Taylor novel, Cross, writes about smokers gathered in clumps outside of pubs flirting with people they wouldn’t have met as non-smokers. It coined a new term, slirting. (Alas, Urban Dictionary hasn’t caught up to the Irish definition of that term!)

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