Stranger in a Strange Land: Smoking

I knew that going back to Germany would be a culture shock. It’s a bit like going to a foreign country. In a way, it’s stranger than that. Because at some point I must have accepted all this as normal.

Cigarette vending machines, for example. I don’t think other countries have these anymore. And why would you put them next to a bubblegum vending machine?

vending machines

Anyways, cigarettes: It’s as if everyone here smokes. Especially young people: 45% of all Germans between 18 and 20 are smokers (compared to just 20% in Norway). They smoke in the office, they smoke in restaurants, they smoke in their cars and on the street, and it’s not just a small minority of people who can’t give it up, it’s almost the norm. Just yesterday I was sitting at the breakfast table at the hotel, and the couple next to me lights up. At breakfast. While I’m still eating. They are sitting right next to the table with the fresh fruit and cereal. Yuck!

The number of smokers that have had at least one attempt at quitting tells a story all by itself: 43% of German smokers have tried quitting. In Scandinavia, the motivation to quit is much higher – that same number is 80% up there.

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2 thoughts on “Stranger in a Strange Land: Smoking

  1. maybe it’s just too warm down here in good ol’ germany and people are trying to be “cool” to compensate …

    or they think that life sucks here and they are trying to shorten the pain …

  2. That’s so… questionable. And the bubble gum machine right next to it makes it horrible, it’s like they’re *trying* to get kids to smoke. Oh wait, they are. *bonk* Why don’t they have some sort of law preventing smoking advertisements? I don’t see why the average citizen would be opposed to it, it’s not like it could have a negative impact on anyone. And by anyone I don’t include the tobacco industry.

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