Now smokers are being charged to smoke...
If cigarettes weren’t expensive enough, now smokers are being charged for the privilege of smoking their nicotine-filled pleasure sticks.
Belfast International Airport is the first UK airport to charge smokers for that final puff before committing to refraining until arriving at their destination. The charge is £1, payable by inserting a coin into a machine which then opens doors to a special smoking area.
Two rent-a-quotes found by the BBC said "You had to pay £1 into a machine and the door would open into the smoking area. We talked to other smokers and they didn't like having to pay £1.” You don’t say.
But perhaps they would have been happier, had the smokers’ enclosure been a more salubrious environment, complaining about it being "a small room, 10ft by 6ft. They seems to have wire mesh on either side and it was probably about two storeys up."
In a statement, the airport said: "We recognised that there was a demand for a smoking facility from some customers, given that all public places (including airports) are now, and have been for a number of years, non-smoking.”
“We are responding to that demand. However providing a specialist facility for a relatively small number of users is expensive to build and to maintain, so it is not unreasonable that a small charge should be levied for the use of the facility."
Whether the trend will carry across the water to the mainland remains to be seen. As does whether smokers will be so desperate for that last drag that they will pay through the nose...