Thursday, September 24, 2009

Marlboro Man on the Mediterranean – the Spanish attitude to smoking

"If we're going to talk about the cultural differences between Spain and the rest of the West, you may as well get comfortable. Pull up a chair, order a drink and light a cigarette.

And there it is. One of the first things noticed by expats in Spain: The smoking. Cigarettes are everywhere, a carelessly enjoyed vice in the street, restaurants, bars and shops.

In this way, Spain is the last slice of Eastern Europe in Western Europe. Despite the (semi) ban on smoking implemented in 2006, Spaniards are slow to take their smoking outside. Shop owners are pretty likely to have an ashtray under the counter. Restaurants still lay out ashtrays as part of their table settings. Cigarettes are cheap (around €3 a pack) and generously shared with friends and acquaintances. Smoking here is less a dirty vice, and more a social signifier of generosity..."

Read more here. Discuss this article here.

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