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Smoking between courses?

Haarlem
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Smoking between courses?

I understand it is not permitted to smoking in any restaurants or bars in Italy. The same ban has recently been introduced here in The Netherlands too. Even thought I'm a smoker myself, I don't mind, as long as I am allow to step outside for a cigarette every now and then.

We are going to Rome in the beginning of November so cannot expect to dine outside on a terrace. So, my question is, is it acceptable in Italy to step away from the dining table between two courses to have a smoke or is such behavior frowned upon?

Rome, Italy
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1. Re: Smoking between courses?

yes its is acceptable and you will find that a lot of Italians do the same.

UK
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2. Re: Smoking between courses?

Goodness ! Are some people so addicted to smoking that they can't avoid doing it for the duration of a meal ? .... !!!

Haarlem
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3. Re: Smoking between courses?

@maryredmill

Thank you for your reply. Wanted to be sure I wasn't behaving as a rude tourist.

@Nolana

Yes.

Roma
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4. Re: Smoking between courses?

No worries on the smoking. You may find the weather in Roma during November acceptable to eat outdoors.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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5. Re: Smoking between courses?

I would just inform the waiter that you're planning to do that. I read about some people who tried to avoid paying by saying they were stepping outside to smoke, so you may find some waiters who are not keen on the idea. Maybe offer to leave him your passport if he is reluctant?

Haarlem
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6. Re: Smoking between courses?

Thank you for the tip. That is what I wondered about, maybe they'll think we trying to avoid paying.

What would be the correct thing to say in Italian? My travel companion is Spanish so he manages basic Italian pretty well.

Bucharest, Romania
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7. Re: Smoking between courses?

Videkissa,

if there are two of you, then it makes more sense for one to stay at the table while the other is out smoking. This way, you do not have to worry about leaving your posessions unattended. That's what my wife and I usually do. It is certainly not as pleasant as having the cigarette together, but then again we smokers deserve every punishment that is thrown at us. And you are sure to make friends along the way, as there are more smokers than some people would think.

Occasionally, you might find the quieter place where you can safely leave your coats etc (but not valuables or passports!) at the table and go out together. I wouldn't do this in the busy touristy areas though. One trick is to leave some "uninteresting" personal items (guidebook, map, pack of soft tissues or cigarettes) on the table to signal that it is taken. You just tell the waiter "usciamo per fumare" (we're going out to smoke).

Some restaurants will have gas heaters that make eating outside possible even in the winter. Weather allowing, that too can be a nice experience provided that you dress accordingly.

Enjoy your Italian meals and associated cigarettes!

Kind regards,

P_M

Farnborough, Hants...
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8. Re: Smoking between courses?

I've sat outside and eaten in November, December and February it was lovely while the sun was out. Italy is a nation of smokers, regardless of the smoking ban in 2005 so you will see lots of people stepping away from the table for a quick smoke in between courses.

Le Marche, Italy
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for Rome, Marche
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9. Re: Smoking between courses?

It's true that a lot of Italians smoke, but it seems to me that most of them don't smoke very much. I am an ex-smoker, and when the subject comes up and I reveal that I used to smoke a pack a day, people are frankly incredulous. My husband is also an ex-smoker, who always says he was a "heavy smoker". Yet he can't conceive of someone smoking in the morning.

I had thought that the no smoking law wouldn't work very well in Italy, but I was surprised. It turns out that a lot of Italian nonsmokers were just waiting for an excuse to banish smoke from their midst. I was at a wedding lunch not long ago, served under an outdoor canopy. There were ashtrays on the table, but I noticed that the smokers all exited to have a drag. They probably didn't want to face the public opprobrium.

London, United...
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10. Re: Smoking between courses?

While it can appear more prevalent, only about 25% of Italians smoke – most of the western world has smoking rates between 20-25%. Indoor smoking bans, like the kind introduced in Italy in 2005, generally have only a minor affect on the total percentage of smokers. Even in California for example, where anti-smoking laws have been in affect for almost 20 years, total smoking rates by adults have only dropped by about 8%.

It’s great to hear that many ex-smokers prefer the smoking restrictions. This is an effort to protect the vast majority from the minority. Let’s now see what we can do about allowing non-smokers the right to eat outdoors without passive smoking :)