If there is one thing that is precious to the Swiss, it is their cervelat. It rivals the national dish of fondue in terms of popularity. But while this smokey version of the Frankfurter sausage is a cut above the good old American hot dog, I must confess it hardly sparks the same emotion in me.
Living in Switzerland we are inundated by ads for what is called the ‘votation populaire’. The Swiss love to go to the polls, and every few months or so, a popular initiative gains sufficient support for the council to organize a referendum. Usually there are several topics bundled together. At the moment, the one getting the most attention involves the legislation around tobacco advertising.
The above billboard suggesting that a ban on cigarette advertising could lead to one on cervelat is certainly attention-grabbing. I mean, who is not going to look twice at a crossed-out sausage?
Switzerland has got to be one of the few countries that still allows cigarette advertising. Not so surprising considering it is the headquarters of so many tobacco companies. The current initiative seeks to ban any form of tobacco advertising that could be seen by children. Which seems like a no-brainer. And yet, the Swiss Council is advising its citizens to vote against it. From what I understand, they want to pass their own draft legislation which provides a bit more wiggle room.
Freedom of speech is pretty important to me and I tend to side with the conservative Swiss on keeping things flexible. But I think it only makes sense to outlaw the promotion of carcinogenic recreational-use products to children. And to regulate access. When I first started smoking as a young teenager, an inciting factor was the sheer availability of cigarettes. Not just those I filched from my parents’ packs, but the ones I bought at cigarette machines.
Not long ago I saw one these dinosaurs at a local restaurant.
For us the whole debate is interesting to watch but we have no stake in the game. As mere residents here we are not allowed to vote.
However I have begun thinking about how I will vote in the upcoming French presidential election. Not only for which candidate but how to go about it. As a citizen of France, even one living abroad, I have the right (nay, duty) to vote, and I plan to exercise it in April. We have registered with the French embassy in Zurich and should receive details on how to vote soon.
When was the last time you voted?