Well it's over a week or so since the smoking ban came into effect and I thought I would give my view on how it's going. One of the first things I have noticed is how quickly folk adapt to the outdoor life with regulars from one pub near to the town centre even bringing their own garden table and chairs to use. Mind you in a dirty back street next to the rubbish containers isn't exactly the Mediterranean lifestyle, and having to move when cars want to pass may spoil the ambiance.
It's strange and somehow reminiscent of a zombie horror movie how I keep seeing long forgotten faces from the dim and distant past, emerging grey faced and blinking into the unfamiliar sunlight, as I drive past the now smoke free pubs and clubs.
One unwanted side effect that some of my fares who live near to the Town centre pubs have told me about is a big increase in noise. When it's quiet in the early hours of morning they tell me that the smokers in the back streets and yards near pubs can be heard for miles. One lady complains that her tiny tot has developed a whole new vocabulary of swear words and keeps reciting dirty jokes. But the thing that keeps most awake is the constant coughing and spluttering from the late night revelers.
It had me puzzled at first when I kept seeing taxi's parked in strange places, behind trucks or trees and hidden down dead end back streets. But it seems that the phones have been red hot at the town hall from folk complaining about some drivers ignoring the ban. As a result warnings have gone out to the die hard smokers amongst the drivers, and they are playing ostrich. Come on guys stop sticking your heads in the sand, a taxi with it's door signs, plates and roof light is hard to hide. If you want a fag step out of the car and smoke it, thats all it takes.