In a meeting yesterday at someone else's offices, the sun on my back kept getting hotter and hotter. My blue suit doesn't breathe particularly well and I was increasingly uncomfortable and sweaty, as the minutes ticked by into hours. The sun rose higher. It was a formal meeting and ripping off my jacket to a sleeveless top would have been inappropriate in the circumstances. I surreptitiously tried to blow air up onto my face. When we finally took a break, I raced outside and gulped fresh air as fast as decorum would allow. I was rapidly followed by another meeting attendee, guiltily lighting a cigarette.
I realised then that cigarettes are almost non-existent in my life, these days.
I've never smoked myself, but I vividly recall the first occasion in 2004 or 2005, after the indoor smoking ban took effect, I went to the Bowler (RIP Bowling Green Tavern, once Dunedin's finest, I partook of your delicious beverages, pashed on your dancefloor, even once managed to gain entry with two bleeding knees*). That night, the smell in the bar without the mask of cigarette smoke was so horrific I had to go home. But! the next morning, my hair was fresh. No burn marks in my clothes or on my arms. Once the Bowler ripped out the old carpet and the smell issue was reduced (wouldn't go so far as to say eliminated), I forgot all about gross secondhand smoke issues after a night out.
In 2008, I recall having a few colleagues who'd still nip outside for a smoke during work hours. There were only a few, but you knew where they'd be when they weren't at their desks.
In 2010, P relegated his social smoking to only very special occasions. It had been pretty infrequent anyway (getting laid > smoking), but he didn't always have a packet stashed in the top drawer of his bedside table anymore.
Today, I would be pressed to think of a friend who is a smoker in the classic sense anymore. None of my colleagues leave the office for a cigarette (a coffee, different story).
Butts on the street are much fewer.
The Quit Me Mutu advertising is prevalent.
Amazing what changes can be wrought in a decade or so.
*the result of two (2) separate accidents in one (1) frosty night with (1) unfortunate pair of shoes and no doubt three (3) too many pre-drinks.