This cigarette vending machine allows smokers to buy cigarettes even after the tabbachi shop has closed. You’ll notice that the metal serranda, which protects the store, has special slots cut into it so the machine can be accessed. The funny thing is that when I stopped to take photos of it, another girl came up behind me to start photographing it as well! I guess I gave her a good idea.
It’s funny how smoking has changed here in Italy in a short period of time. When I studied abroad in 2001, cigarettes were ridiculously cheap (and we were on the lira at that time) and almost everyone smoked, including my host family. This was a big change from the US, where smokers are a bit shunned and it’s looked down upon as a bad habit. Here it was almost impossible to meet someone who didn’t smoke. Then, in 2005, a smoking ban in public places took effect. The vietato fumare signs went up and when I heard the news while back in the US, I couldn’t believe it. I honestly didn’t think people would follow the rules (and sometimes they still don’t), but for the most part we are in a smoke free zone and I have to say I’ve noticed that while certainly more people smoke here than compared to the US, it is easier to find people that don’t smoke. Cigarettes cost a bit more now, though you’ll find a lot of people who roll their own to save money, and with it harder to smoke indoors more people are giving up the habit. It’s still not viewed in the same unhealthy way as in the US, but at least it makes it easier for those of us who don’t smoke!