The Global Life: Smoke Signals

Some European countries are adopting American-style bans on smoking in bars

Like Big Macs, spandex and David Hasselhoff, nonsmoking sections in Europe are still regarded as somewhat boorish American cultural invasions. But in a grudging acknowledgment of the trend toward cleaner air and cleaner lungs, Parisian power-lunch restaurant Le Pichet has posted a sign stating NONSMOKERS TOLERATED. And by "tolerated," the proprietors of this beautiful-people bistro mean, Don't complain if smoke from the back room enshrouds your table or if the waiter flicks ashes on anyone who orders a Coke with ice.

Yes, dear tourists, as sure as Zagat's latest guide to Paris highlights hundreds of restaurants with nonsmoking sections, however ineffective...

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