I happened to mention recently that smoking in France really affects apartment buildings, especially since so many are above restaurants and cafes -- and there is almost always an outdoor space for eating, generally in front of the cafe itself.
A couple of French people came down hard on me, informing me that smoking in restaurants and other public buildings is banned and to "stop living in the 80s!"
I'm not sure what the last part meant (were they calling me old or out of touch?!) but I am aware of the public bans.
What they seemed to be unaware of was that when we are lucky enough to visit France, we choose to stay in apartments or lofts, instead of hotels. It's half the cost and twice the fun.
Last year we had a beautiful home built in the 1600s in the heart of an ancient harbor town. Naturally we flung all the windows open every to watch the water, the people and to breathe in the delicious scents of bakeries, outdoor food markets, cafes.
But unfortunately, what permeated our senses the most was the cigarette smoke -- so much so that we had to keep the windows on the second floor closed for half the day, as it filtered in so badly that even our kids made comments.
While people have the right to smoke, it made me wonder about how people living in these kinds of apartments deal with this all the time.
Do they care? Do they even notice?
It turns out that they do -- a lot, especially in the United States, a country that is admittedly far more anti-smoking than many others. A new study, led by Dr. Karen Wilson, the section head of pediatric hospital medicine at Children's Hospital Colorado, and an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, saw that concern over secondhand smoke filtering into the homes of non-smokers is a big problem.
The study asked a total of 323 respondents (who were part of a larger study done in 2011) who lived in apartment buildings if secondhand smoke was an issue for them.
The participants had been living in smoke-free homes for at least three months.