The smoking situation here generally is similar to the U.S. 10-20 years ago. Many people smoke, and not just older ones. Few restaurants have "Nicht Rauchen" areas the next day after an evening at our favorite local restaurant, our clothes closet reeks. Thatís another reason to look forward to the warm weather, when outdoor dining flourishes.
You donít have to go very far to buy a pack: in addition to the Trinkhalles on every other block, there are mini cigarette machines mounted on fences, even in the far suburbs. In fact, itís easier to find a cigarette machine than a pay phone!
The elevator in the building MITRE shares with the BFS has an ashtray not outside where you could put out your cigarette before entering, but inside, so you donít have to drop your ash on the four-floor trip! I must admit, Iíve never seen anybody smoking there perhaps itís a remnant from some earlier tenants.
There have been some recent anti-smoking developments. Since Iíve been here, smoking has been banned from the subway stations, although itís not universally respected. And beginning October 28 there will be no smoking on Lufthansa flights within Germany. The guys from a subcontractor from Hamburg who often have to come to Frankfurt are really upset about this the flight takes 50 minutes! The newspapers have been carrying the familiar tirades from cigarette companies and heavy smokers about how everyoneís freedoms are being abridged because of a few fanatics. Lufthansa is serious, though when asked what would happen if someone lit up and refused to stop, they said that the captain has the authority to handcuff the offender!
Although the room Ericsson gave the BFS to use at the factory in Stockholm had a No Smoking sign, it was ignored mainly because the BFS on-site representative was a smoker. He was also subsidized he had a special status through the German embassy allowing him to buy cigarettes at prices much cheaper than in Sweden. They were rationed, though, so he couldnít help out his smoker friends at Ericsson.
One place where he, and everyone else, does observe the signs is at the ATC school south of Frankfurt where the simulator is now installed. Several prominent signs announce that the Halon fire extinguishing system costs 25,000 Marks to recharge, and nobody wants to find out if it really would come out of their paycheck!
I spoke too soon. Yesterday afternoon when I entered our elevator, the smell of cigarette smoke lingered. I took a look in the on-board ashtray, and found two butts!