It was nothing new to me that the majority of the Italian population is smokers. Though, to me what’s even worse is that is much more socially accepted than in the USA.  I originally grew up in Bulgaria where it’s the same story but have been living in Chicago for the past fifteen years where there are rules when it comes to smoking etiquette.  Currently, I study and live in Florence, a remarkable city with so much history, culture, art, fashion, and of course love.  I’m sure you get “the pretty picture” but let me tell all you nonsmokers out there, it’s not cool when you constantly have to inhale all that nicotine. I absolutely hate it and it’s just ridiculous!

People in Florence smoke everywhere, on the streets, in cafes and restaurants, in front of schools and every store’s entrance, while driving, and yes even while bicycling or driving a motorcycle.  They probably smoke more than they eat or do anything else.  Every morning I’d open the windows of the studio where I currently live to get some “fresh air,” but I’m not always lucky because the side of the building faces the street.  I find this really disturbing, especially when smoking at an entrance.  Come on, give me a break!  Whatever happened to common sense and human etiquette!  I mean if you want to poison your body, go ahead but have some manners and don’t stand right in front of the entrance, like you owe the place.  It’s called politeness!

I’ve seen mothers taking a walk with their babies in strollers and smoking at the same time.  I feel so sorry for these kids. Honestly, I don’t comprehend where these women’ brains are and if they even have a slightly idea of the consequences.  First of all, don’t get me started on the increased risk to develop various cancers and secondly, ladies, it’s bad hygiene.  I guess these women don’t really care about aging or living a healthy lifestyle.  I’m not an expert but we all know that the best thing you can do for a beautiful, glowing complexion is to stop smoking.  Nicotine can add years to your appearance, so by quitting your skin will become smoother and more radiant.  Similarly, this speaks for men too because smoking can increase their risk of health problems including lung cancer. My father who passed away was a social smoker but he never ever smoked in the apartment we lived in back then. He loved us too much and I’m sure his heart just wouldn’t let him. Smoking around other people can cause serious health problems.

I also can’t stand it while I’m having either lunch or dinner at a restaurant and having to smell cigarette smoke.  In the USA, smoking is not allowed in restaurants, cafes or bars.  The US Government made it a law and the owners can get a pretty big fine if they fail to follow.  I’m not aware if there are any laws in Italy when it comes to smoking but I sure don’t appreciate inappropriate etiquette.

In general, Florence is actually fresh because every single morning workers clean and wash its streets. Yet, by late afternoon it gets full of thrown cigarettes on the ground.  In my opinion such a significant city that is constantly visited by thousands of tourists must be maintained flawlessly, so it doesn’t ruin its image. I just wish that people would not only respect each other more but mostly care for the environment we are all breathing.

Aneta

Student of
Spirito Italiano
Italian Language School