19 Nov, 2010
Polak potrafi. Or how to bypass the smoking ban.
Posted by: Michał In: so very Polish
I wrote about the newly-introduced smoking ban a few days ago and a couple of my readers commented saying they remained sceptical about the effectiveness of the ban. (Being sceptical is prerequisite to being Polish
Turns out, they were right.
A cafe owner in Katowice in the south of Poland bypassed the ban by turning his cafe into a club (I assume it must be some kind of members’ club, not just ANY club for this to be effective) and issuing special ‘passes’ to those who want to smoke. The mind boggles.
As a result, the place is full of smokers who see it as their safe haven. One of the customers, a non-smoker, told TVN24 that he enjoys the place and the smoke doesn’t bother him at all. Another one said she goes there because she likes the place and knows she can puff away on her cigarette.
The ownes himself claims the new law is aburd as it
“prohibits our customers from deciding about their own health”.
The cafe – sorry, club – might be full of customers, but it obviously creates controversy. Poland’s former health minister, Boleslaw Piecha told TVN24 that
“human stupidity knows no boundaries. If one of his staff gets sick, they might take them to court, as was the case with many tobacco companies. And the compensation is huge”.
I’ve read similar reports about people in Krakow blatantly ignoring the ban and I’m sure the same thing is happening all over Poland.
It’s obviously early days and it takes time to get used to any new law (and for lawmakers to become more rigorous in implementing their acts).
But on the other hand, there’s the famous Polish saying “Polak potrafi”. Usually used in a slightly ironic, sometimes critical, but often also proud way.
It means “a Pole is able [to do anything]“. He is indeed…
Image by miss_blackbutterfly via Flickr, used under the Creative Commons licence
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