MY SAY: Smokers' world is a distant memory
NORFOLK Island still allows smoking inside restaurants. It's almost worth a visit, for educational purposes.
I honestly can't remember when it was considered normal to smoke in public.
With smoking now banned in most outdoor public places in Queensland - even in national parks, as of yesterday - the ability for smokers to poison themselves with ease is massively reduced.
Thanks to laws enacted yesterday, smokers can no longer light up in a national park if they're within 10m of picnic tables, barbecues or toilets. Information shelters are off limits, as are occupied camp sites.
They must feel like animals being cornered - I would. It's definitely not a normal pastime to have anymore.
Maybe smokers' tourism will one day be a niche industry. In 20 or 50 years there will still be proud, if not increasingly marginalised, puffers around.
They might be keen to spend some coin on a tour of the remaining places where you can still smoke while partaking in popular activities.
Norfolk Island could be the first stop on the smokers' safari - instead of celebrating history and culture, nature and the outdoors the tourism officials could market a real-life throwback experience of the days before public policy stopped viewing smoking as a lifestyle choice.
A prime candidate for tour-goer number one would be an old friend of mine who continues to insist that smoking's healthy for him, because he's not obese.
Rules restricting smoking are discriminatory, he argued. The argument that restricting the actions of someone who's endangering other lives is discriminatory makes my head hurt.
My mate would love to go back to the good old days, when he could smoke at work and almost everywhere else.
"The only thing it's killing is hunger - it keeps me healthy!" he said once, winking while he enjoyed a long puff on his death-stick.
He's tried to quit many times, but reckons he can still run faster going backwards than I can running normally, so obviously it doesn't affect his fitness.
To him, anti-smoking laws are discriminatory.
He loves national parks, and would likely ignore the smoking ban and the glares from passers-by, happier to cop a fine than refrain.
Another guy I spoke to recently might be another customer on the smokers' tour.
He pays so many taxes on his smokes that I should thank him for all the public services he's providing, he informed me.
When I told a friend who's a nurse, he laughed, and said: "Oh yeah, and what about the cost of treating his cancer through the public health system?" Fair point.
Evangelical smokers, I admire your reckless abandon.