Smoke-free dining due

Planning a night out with my husband and friends should be as easy as picking up the phone and booking a table at a restaurant. Now, however, I have to ask another question: Do you allow smoking in your restaurant?

Imagine my surprise at the repeated reply of ‘Yes, Madam, you can smoke anywhere in our restaurant’, as if they are proud of that statement. I then have to decline taking advantage of their table for four at 8pm.

I have found that there is one thing worse than an ex-smoker and that is an ex-smoker who had two-thirds of her right lung surgically removed due to lung cancer and has just finished her course of chemotherapy. How better to celebrate this recovery than with dinner with friends.

Alas, one of the biggest dangers for me is second hand smoke and there is absolutely no way that I will subject myself to it. So, to all the restaurateurs in Cayman – when are you going to request that your customers do not smoke so that I can enjoy your facilities? Even if you allow smoking at the bar or at a few tables, someone has to sit next to that area and I defy any air extraction system to totally remove all the smoke and the awful smell from the room thus making me lose my appetite as a I enter and denying me the enjoyment of a cocktail or soda at the bar before dinner.

In nearly every state of America and most of Western Europe, the bars and restaurants are full of friends meeting, sharing an evening, enjoying lunch or catching up over dessert and coffee – all in a smoke free environment. Please do not try and tell me that they are all non-smokers because I know they are not. The smokers among them acknowledge and accept that if they want to smoke they need to remove themselves from the building/area to do so. I used to do it myself; it really is no hardship.

I was so excited to read about similar legislation potentially being introduced here in Cayman .

I know it has been a tough year for us all but an issue as serious as this needs to be kept alive and not let slip under a pile of ‘more important’ matters.

To me, there is nothing more important than my health and what should be my freedom to enjoy eating out. It has been a hard road for my family too. I know from talking to friends that I am not the only person who feels strongly about this subject so please – to whoever is in charge of this matter – don’t let my next meal out be on a medical trip to Florida where I know I am safe.

Rose Lewis