Flawless Lebanese Anti-Non Smoking Logic

To say I’m excited about a smoking ban in Lebanon would be an understatement. I remember when I got the news via twitter while at a museum in Madrid last summer. I felt the need to share with anyone who’d listen, Lebanese or not.

What I didn’t think, however, was that one year later – as the ban is starting to come into effect – I’d actually see people vehemently against it, complaining about how the law is a violation of their rights, nagging about a state that can’t but feel powerful against those who are weak.

They don’t give us electricity, they don’t give us security, they don’t give us proper transportation, they don’t give us water, they don’t give us social security, they don’t provide decent healthcare…. What gives them the right to take smoking away from me?

That is literally what I heard yesterday by more than one Lebanese smokers. The sad part? A few non-smokers agreed with them as well. I’m fairly certain they are not the only ones. Some people are already proud about smoking in places covered by the ban. I literally just saw a few doing so.
And as I’m typing this, MTV is reporting that some restaurant owners have decided to close their places in protest on the smoking ban.

Yes, let’s complain about losing money if the ban goes into effect. Then let’s close down, lose the money and tell them all: ta-daaa!

And that is my friends impeccable Lebanese logic where A, despite it having absolutely nothing to do with B, somehow becomes perfectly correlated with it.

Why would anyone mix together the issues of electricity, the arms of Hezbollah, the Mekdad military wing, burning tires and people not admitted into hospitals with a smoking ban?

I, for one, have no idea. And as I tried to explain exactly how non-sequitur this sounded, the conversation volume was raised by more than a few notches. When you don’t make sense, start shouting. Oddly enough, this reminds me of more than a few Lebanese politician. It seems to be genetic.

And then you have those “panicking” about the sector losing 2600 jobs because smokers will somehow, in another piece of flawless logic, stop going out to eat and party and drink. Of course the syndicate of Lebanese restaurant owners doesn’t really care about people losing their jobs. It cares about its business decreasing because they can’t make easy money off selling overpriced shisha.

And when you try to tell people exactly how silly that sounds, they reply that non-smokers can go to non-smoking places. Which non-smoking places are they talking about? I have absolutely no idea whatsoever. In a country like Lebanon, no business dares to be solely no smoking. And those who do are in a different league of competition. Why? Because smokers will refuse to go there. But when all restaurants are non-smoking, either the entirety of Lebanon’s smokers will become isolationists who don’t venture out of their homes as the syndicate is suggesting or the syndicate of Lebanese restaurant owners is only worried about its bottom line losing one of its sources.
I’m sure it’s the latter. They want you to think it’s the former. And to that effect, they’ve made fancy infographics and whatnot.

What their logic is obviously lacking is simply looking at countries that have enforced smoking bans and noticing how their restaurant sectors didn’t suddenly go bankrupt and didn’t suffer. People get used to it. But they don’t want change. They love the status quo where your food is served mixed with cigarette ash.

No. One simply doesn’t take smoking from Lebanese smokers peacefully. One doesn’t simply start a law with the country having any other problem whatsoever. Today they nag about the electricity. If the electricity gets fixed, they’ll nag about Beirut lacking a subway system. When/if we end up getting a subway system, they’ll nag about our lack of nuclear energy. And the excuses will keep coming.

Simply put, some smokers and restaurant owners have one thing to say to you: f*ck you and your overly sensitive lungs.

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17 thoughts on “Flawless Lebanese Anti-Non Smoking Logic

  1. 1- lebanese always panic when it comes to new laws (i.e. radars) and always make excuses not to abide it and set priorities like electricity, everybody knows that it wont get fixed in the near future so we wait for it IFF it gets fixed ? that’s stupid
    2- as for those shisha restaurants they had one FULL year to make open spaces with heaters (no excuses for the winter) out of the tons of money they made from overpriced shishas, y didnt they do it ? it was their responsibility they should bare the consequences now.
    3- having smoking and non-smoking sections in the SAME room is nonsense either

    Reply
  2. Before I start, I would like to state that I myself am a casual smoker; a pack usually lasts 10-14 days, so not smoking in public places isn’t a problem for me and I support the ban.
    Having said that, the above arguments are half-right IMHO. While the government DOES have bigger fish to fry, you won’t get any points across by comparing the political situation to a smoking ban.
    The biggest impact this ban can potentially have is, I think we can agree, the health factor. Aside from most (or at least some) smokers having to cut back, second-hand smoke is a serious problem in Lebanon. Not being exposed to SHS in public places will be a great effect of the ban.
    However, SHS isn’t the biggest problem our health faces; if you ask me, pollution is public enemy #1. Whether it’s the Zouk smokestacks, the filth we call our beaches, or the exhaust fumes from the glorious buses of our infamous transportation “system”, I think that the grime we’re exposed to when commuting / carrying out our daily routines for several hours every day, by far outweighs the effect of SHS for a few hours 3-4 times a week at most.
    In conclusion: I hope the ban is more than just a ban, but a serious sign of intent.

    Reply
    • so smoking shouldnt be banned UNTIL “other” problems are solved ? what a stupid mentality is this ? y start from someplace ? this is a serious problem and important as others, ppl set priorities against any new law so that they wont obey it, 7ejaj bala ta3meh learn to obey any law first THEN set priorities, as if ur saying if “y fix electricity while there is lebanon-israel conflict ?”

      Reply
      • Would you learn to read properly? I SPECIFICALLY SAID that there are more important HEALTH ISSUES that SHOULD have been dealt with first, but that “I SUPPORT THE BAN” and hopefully they’ll keep the momentum going. I also DEFINITELY said that it’s pointless to use POLITICAL problems (or any, for that matter) to justify disobeying the ban.
        Bloody hell, some people just argue for the sake of it! F*cking brick walls, did you even read ANYTHING I wrote??

        Reply
        • Actually those health issues: pollution, congestion are not as easy to deal with as smoking. You start with smaller steps and then take it up from there, not the other way around. Especially in a country like Lebanon.

          Reply
    • nothing should be dealt with before the other.
      in Lebanon we have Uncountable issues to solve and we re not supposed to priorities, just start with Any and fix it.
      Each organisation fight for it’s cause and high five for them if they were able to implement laws and courage to the rest…

      Reply
    • True there are other problems for the health of Lebanese people. But smoking is the easiest to solve. It’s much easier to stop people from smoking at restaurants and in public places than to come up with a decent transportation sector that would lessen congestion and pollution in Beirut, right?

      Reply
  3. Just because the government has bigger fish to fry doesn’t mean we don’t start somewhere. And as it is with Lebanese, they’ll always find excuses against any new law because they love the status quo.

    Reply
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