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 Post subject: Smoking and plots
PostPosted: Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:26 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 3:11 pm
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Location: Cheshire, UK
It takes ages to get stories accepted, if they ever are in my case, and meanwhile changes in society make them look more stupid than thay might have been.

The recent changes in 'where you can smoke' regs have dealt a blow to some of my stuff. Does anyone know if there are, or will be, similar anti smoking laws in Euro land countries like Germany and the Netherlands?

Is smoking likely to be banned in public places across Europe or in other EU countries?

Anyone used a cross channel ferry recently, is smoking allowed on deck still, in the bars etc.?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 3:59 am 
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If I don't have info to help, I feel this is stupid to post. But I had the same problem, so maybe it will make you feel slightly better. All with smoking, too. I live in Colorado, and the new laws wiped out indoor smoking everywhere. A lot of my characters smoke and of course, they smoke in public places, so I had to go back and rewrite or take the darn cigarettes out of their mouths. I feel your frustration.
Brandon

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:14 am 
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Right now, AFAIK (I'm a non-smoker, but not a rabid one: I like to think people can work something out together) in The Netherlands smoking is generally prohibited in offices and public places like railway stations and airports, although these also have designated smoking areas.

Smoking is still allowed in bars and restaurants, although the plan is to prohibit smoking there on July 1, 2008. Smoking is also allowed on what I would call a 'work floor' (my English fails me a bit now), that is a space were people perform 'physical labour' like in a factory (as opposed to an office where people perform 'labour that isn't *physically* intensive'), but only when *everybody* agrees that smoking is allowed.

An example: I train people (both our own and customers) in operating and adjusting our equipment. We have our own office, classrooms and a 'practical space' where we have both actual examples of our own equipment, and (partial) simulations (my company manufactures ship's propellers [mostly with controllable pitch] and their controls; so we have actual setups of the controls, but simulations of a whole vessel, and a lot in between). People are not allowed to smoke in the office or classrooms, but because we declared that our practical space is akin to a workshop, people can smoke there, and normally do: we hold our coffee breaks in there.

However, if there is one single person asking people not to smoke in this 'workshop', then, by law, everybody has to comply. So if we have a group of 10 or 20 people, and all of them except one smoke there, and the single non-smokers asks them to stop, then they have to by Dutch law. Social pressure keeps this from happening most of the time (after all, the smoking only happens during coffee breaks), although I have seen it happen once in the two years I work in the Training Centre. That particular guy was not very popular at the moment.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:57 am 
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If Jack lights a cigarette in a bar, that should say something about Jack or why leave it in? The fact that it's illegal to do that now is neither here nor there. Maybe people complain or the barman tell's Jack to put it out, but unless that advances the story or Jack's character in some way, that actual event doesn't need to make it into the story. Of course the subtle influence on the reader's perception of your character being a lawbreaker may push him or her too far away from what you intend.

There is nothing to say that the story has to be set now, when smoking is illegal in a particular place, or that the laws apply in the future. Perhaps there is an alternate timeline where the laws never got passed?

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:24 am 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
Thanks folks, keep 'em coming.

In answer to Icarus, my stories are sort of contemporary and not set in an altenate history or universe. These add complication, and hence word count, which is turning out to be a real problem with making my short fiction publishable.

Plus non smoking areas have different 'furnishings' to smoking areas. If a charactor hits someone with a handy ash tray, of the heavy glass type, I have to amend to a litre beer mug, or whatever, because there won't be ash trays. Sensory details also change because of the aroma and fug of tobacco smoke. Where I've written them in I have to take them out and often find replacement detail.

all sorts of scenarios/situations don't work where smoking is prohibited and the charactors' use of cigarettes or otherwise is the least of the problems.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
I tried a google and the Ferries situation is sorted,
Quote:
P&O Ferries adopts a no-smoking policy inside ships on the Dover - Calais route from 1 June. Smoking on the 90-minute crossing will be restricted to designated areas on deck.



Jetse did his home country so just Germany to check out. So I tried another Google and found
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1907294,00.html which is pretty clear
Quote:
Much of Europe Bans Smoking; Germany Keeps Puffing Away
and they still allow cigarette to be advertised.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:32 am 
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They tried to introduce a similar smoking ban in China earlier this year, but there was such huge opposition - demonstrations, pickets, petitions, media campaigns, sit-ins, and so on - that the government was forced to abandon the idea.

Sounds like China’s democracy is a little more advanced than Britain’s ...

Perhaps you could re-locate all your stories in Cuba? Here’s what the Cuban Ambassador to the UK said last week, according to the Daily Telegraph:

Quote:
"You can smoke anywhere you want in my country. Here the ban means smokers are a very oppressed minority.'' He said that the ban had meant a decline in his country's cigar exports. An occasional cigar smoker himself, the ambassador said it didn't seem quite the same celebrating Cuban cuisine in a Cuban restaurant without a single Cuban cigar in sight.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 9:00 pm 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
I'm toying with the idea of a future where smoking is unbanned. then maybe I can smuggle some cigarette ads into Interzone as fiction, or even science fictional 'smoking devices'.

Sounds good to me.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:51 am 
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Interesting thread.

Roy wrote:
..not set in an alternate history or universe... which is turning out to be a real problem with making my short fiction publishable.


Are stories really being rejected because of characters that smoke?
:roll:

So, a contemporary alt. world where smoking is permitted, but everything else is the same... could this be the Ultimate Mundane-SF?
:wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:11 pm 
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Location: Cheshire, UK
No rejections because of smoking characters, if there is a problem it's my writing.

I was complaining about the time taken to get stories around and the way anti smoking laws and other changes mean stories written prior to such laws have to be revised and it's not always easy to find how the changes are reflected in other countries and places.

Contemporary settings seem to require less exposition than alt universe/history stories and keep word counts down, maybe.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 9:10 pm 
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Location: Glasgow
I came back from Arran to the Scottish mainland on a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry last week and people were smoking on the deck, albeit discreetly. Probably still illegal, though.


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