23 October 2010

Cigarette Machines

There is no national smoking ban in bars and restaurants in Germany, a good third of the population smokes, the one public ban that was passed - in 2006 - was overturned after a few days and massive public outcry... yet it still doesn't seem as though German people smoke that much. We go to bars where nobody is smoking, or they are doing it outdoors. Restaurants never seem to allow it. It's actually been quite nice, compared with previous countries - our throats stopped hurting. The only cigarette related phenomenon we've seen has been the prevalence of tobacco vending machines out on the streets. They're everywhere.
There are relatively few "tabak" stores, compared with other countries, which might have something to do with it. Or, it could be that it's just not illegal to sell cigarettes like soda. They do require an age-verification card, which can be an I.D. or a "chipknik" equipped debit card (their cards have little computer chips on them).
This one was set into a very nicely maintained hedgerow outside a nice little house. I was wondering if the person who owned the property got some percentage of the sales or just an annual commission. Or, if he or she just liked having a convenient place to go buy smokes.
Here in Leipzig, the machines tend to be all covered up with stickers and flyers, which makes them look pretty cool, we think.
The person who lives here must have to keep their window closed.

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