I am not a smoker and never have been.
This is my take on what it means to smoke a cigarette: First,
you pick up this little white combustible stick, and then you set
it on fire. You next bring that little torch to within a few inches
of your face and put one end (the one that is not on fire) in your
mouth. Then you inhale, a process that produces smoke that gets in
your eyes and maybe even makes them water.
This does not even take into account what you are doing to your
In some less verbal fashion, these thoughts bobbed about in my
mind when friends and classmates tried, and sometimes became
addicted to, cigarettes. I simply never saw the point and never lit
one. (Except for Dad's pipe, I also grew up in a nonsmokers'
It is no wonder someone who characterizes smoking the way I do
would like the idea of, first, nonsmoking restaurants and
nonsmoking flights, and now, a nonsmoking cruise ship.
Last weekend, I overnighted on the world's only all-nonsmoking
ship, the Paradise, when it was in New York for preinaugural
The best site on our tour of the ship was the Rotterdam bar,
described by a host as the "noncigar bar" because it is located
where cigar bars are positioned on other Carnival ships, he
Crew and passengers agree not to smoke while aboard the vessel
-- and there are plenty of other company ships to choose from for
those who cannot take on this obligation.
Carnival calculated it could make a go of a smoke-free ship,
noting that three-quarters of its clientele are nonsmokers, the
same as in the general U.S. population. (It may be harder to bring
group business to the vessel, however, given that in any sizeable
group of people inclined to travel together, there often are a few
Any passenger who smokes on the Paradise will be required to
leave the ship at the next port and find his own way home. Crew
members, drawn from the thousands of employees who have staffed
other Carnival ships, would loose their jobs if caught violating
One of our dinner mates observed that, not only will the humans
be healthier, but almost certainly the ship will hold up better,
No doubt, the experience of cruising on the Paradise will be
much like cruising on the other Carnival ships. The fact that it is
smoke-free will be unremarkable, by which I mean passengers won't
sit around talking about or even thinking much about the fact there
is no smoke. That's because clean air is easy to get used to -- and
to take for granted.