Quote of the Day - Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics.
As of Monday this ritual may be a scene from the past. The Italian government instituted a national ban on smoking in public places including cafes, bars, restaurants and night clubs.
Although one third of Italians smoke, a surprising majority supported the ban. I can only believe that even the smokers having dinner with their families want to enjoy the flavors of the food without every bite tasting like the inside of an ashtray.
The ban leaves restaurant and bar owners in charge of policing patrons, however, and requires them to call the authorities to report violators. The effectiveness of the measure remains to be seen.
Two of my most memorable Italian smoking memories are sitting in the "no smoking" section of my local pizzeria watching one of the regular customers light up a smoke. When he asked for an ashtray, the waitress gladly served one up.
Then, there was the Italian police officer casually leaning against a post, lighting up and puffing away. When I looked up, I noticed that he was standing directly under a "No Smoking" sign in the Milan airport.
If these are the enforcers, then my guess is that the rules may have changed, but everything remains the same …