No smoking

By    John Garner on  Friday, August 4, 2006
Summary: Last Saturday during a dinner with friends we started talking about the latest 'Enjeux, Les Echos' magazine. One of the articles covers the trend in the US whereby certain companies are refusing to hire people that smoke. There are also companies that are doing all they can to get workers to participate in sports activities. […]

Last Saturday during a dinner with friends we started talking about the latest 'Enjeux, Les Echos' magazine. One of the articles covers the trend in the US whereby certain companies are refusing to hire people that smoke. There are also companies that are doing all they can to get workers to participate in sports activities.
Anyway, the subject of smoking... Aaah, I love that one...

Before going any further I must admit, I am not only against smoking, but I do everything I can to stop people from smoking in my presence. This behaviour in France, where smoking is kind of a tradition is often considered selfish.
Yes, believe it or not, smokers in France 9 times out of 10 get away with making people who don't want to participate in secondary smoking look as if they are the bad guys. A 'je ne sais quoi' of "you are depriving me of the freedom to smoke where I want", even if it means getting you to smoke their cigarettes, like it or not.

The well known "Well I don't complain when you...", "You've got bad habits that I put up with...", "There are 5 of us that smoke and only 2 of you that don't..." often come up in the conversation.
Responding when the debate starts off at such a low level and off the point is pretty useless...

If you're really lucky you'll be with people that previously smoked, secretly enjoying being able to breathe in the smoke of others ! So when you complain about the smoking they feel a bit like dear in the headlights, wondering whether people will realise their secret about enjoying secondary smoking, playing on the "it's their right to smoke" supporting act !

It's true in France there are an enormous amount of people that smoke and my impression is that far more girls and women smoke than boys and men. A friend who is a teacher in Ireland, on holiday over here in France last year was telling me how the kids that he brought over to France on exchange actually came back shocked by how many young kids where smoking.

In France people often quote the sentence "La liberté des uns s'arrête là où commence celle des autres" : Your freedom ends where the other person's freedom begins. I also use the concept, this simplistic though it may be, to understand different situations. Smoking never seems to get past it though. Smoke doesn't just stop in a bubble that surrounds the smoker; it's free to ride like the wind, wherever it wants...

Smoking is less of a solitary habit, often it's group induced.
People share their smoke with those around them. If you're in the restaurant and feel like enjoying the subtleties of the food you are eating (smokers' taste buds are dead to these subtleties), you can be sure at least one table will have a smoker that is willing to share his smoke with you. Age isn't a problem either, they'll share their smoke with you even if your first teeth haven't appeared !

Smoking isn't just bad for us humans though, one of best friends recently asked me to have a look at a computer that died on him. After taking it to bits we found out that the previous owner had both not cleaned it and smoked. The combination of dust and smoke had created a near solid component in certain areas that had rendered most heat reduction systems like fans and the copper radiators completely useless. Resulting in the death of the poor computer...

It can get worse though; you can actually have a smoker close by that will provide the whole house with a fragrance that will remain for years to come...

But whether you're in France or coming to France, don't abide by the rules that the smokers are helplessly trying to keep intact. Blow on the cinders of change so that the heat is on the smokers to change. Don't let selfish habits make you feel you're the one that should give in. At the end of the day, it's your life and health that are at risk...

Article written by  John Garner

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Check out the most recent posts from the blog: 
Sunday, September 24, 2023
The reliability & accuracy of GenAI

I question the reliability and accuracy of Generative AI (GenAI) in enterprise scenarios, particularly when faced with adversarial questions, highlighting that current Large Language Models (LLMs) may be data-rich but lack in reasoning and causality. I would call for a more balanced approach to AI adoption in cases of assisting users, requiring supervision, and the need for better LLM models that can be trusted, learn, and reason.

Read More
Saturday, September 23, 2023
From Chatbots to Reducing Society's Technical Debt

I discuss my experience with chatbots, contrasting older rules-based systems with newer GenAI (General Artificial Intelligence) chatbots. We cannot dismiss the creative capabilities of GenAI-based chatbots, but these systems lack reliability, especially in customer-facing applications, and improvements in the way AI is structured could lead to a "software renaissance," potentially reducing society's technical debt.

Read More
Friday, June 16, 2023
The imbalance of power in the AI game: in search of the common good

The article discusses the contrasting debate on how AI safety is and should be managed, its impact on technical debt, and its societal implications.
It notes the Center for AI Safety's call for a worldwide focus on the risks of AI, and Meredith Whittaker's criticism that such warnings preserve the status quo, strengthening tech giants' dominance. The piece also highlights AI's potential to decrease societal and technical debt by making software production cheaper, simpler, and resulting in far more innovation. It provides examples of cost-effective open-source models that perform well and emphasizes the rapid pace of AI innovation. Last, the article emphasises the need for adaptive legislation to match the pace of AI innovation, empowering suitable government entities for oversight, defining appropriate scopes for legislation and regulation, addressing ethical issues and biases in AI, and promoting public engagement in AI regulatory decisions.

Read More
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Japan revises copyright laws for AI

Japan has made its ruling on the situation between Content creators and Businesses. Japanese companies that use AI have the freedom to use content for training purposes without the burden of copyright laws. This news about the copyright laws in Japan reported over at Technomancers is seen as Businesses: 1 / Content Creators: 0 The […]

Read More