One of the things I first noticed in Italy was that people smoked a lot. It turns out that from my perspective, being Mexican, it is true that the rates of cigarette consumption are higher than where I come from.
Additionally, being a non smoker it’s sometimes a big problem because tobacco kills nearly 6 million people each year, from which 600,000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. So I’d rather not take my chances, you know?
Of course, whatever happens within the geographic boundaries of a country, and their social biases, would be normal for them. So sometimes I find useless and pointless to discuss about perceptions, instead, to support my arguments I like to use numbers:
An interesting fact is that the biggest smokers outside of Eastern Europe are South Koreans, Kazakhs, and Japanese. In the same chart I pointed out Germany as a reference point to Western Europe to be fair of not only comparing Italy with underdeveloped countries like India, and to some extent Mexico itself.
But the funniest part, and the reason why I’m writing this blog entry today, is that in Italy there is a saying that goes “He/she smokes like a Turk“, when they mean to say that someone smokes a lot.
Well, it’s true I lack background of where that phrase actually comes from or what it used to mean, but certainly today if I’d like to say to my Italian friends that they smoke a lot, I should say that they smoke, not like Turks, but maybe like… well…. uhmmmm… like Italians do.