This week, when Lebanon implemented its smoking ban in enclosed public places, I received many angry phone calls from friends and family in Beirut and Tripoli.
Their passion for tobacco reminded me of the defence of gun ownership once uttered by the American actor, Charlton Heston, at a National Rifle Association gathering. "You can have my guns," Heston said in 2000, "when you take them from my cold, dead hands."
When it comes to cigarettes, cigars and shisha, my relatives can relate. "How dare they! I will show them if they try to stop me from smoking," was a threat by a 70-year-old relative I have never seen without a cigarette in her mouth. And she has that husky smoker's voice to boot.
I pity the cafe and restaurant owners who will have to deal with the wrath of my relatives - especially those whose longest relationship in life has been with tobacco. The female members of the family, in particular, can be lethal - like vampires who turn into angels only after their first puff of smoke of the day.
They are not the only ones protesting. With Lebanon long considered a smokers' paradise, it will be hard to enforce this ban, especially when many businesses oppose it, on the grounds it will hurt tourism and the economy.
In one protest in north Lebanon, cafe and shisha shop owners held up plaques that read: "Smoking Forbidden. Kidnapping Allowed." They were taking a jab at the recent string of kidnappings in Lebanon that led to some deadly fights, and threats to the international airport.
Beirut airport, along with schools and hospitals, banned smoking last year. This year the rule has been extended to cover commercial sites such as bars, restaurants and cafes, and particularly those with traditional shisha or hookah as their prime offering. People will still be allowed to smoke in open spaces, such as on rooftops, balconies and patios.
Anyone who breaks the ban faces a fine equal to Dh330, and restaurant or cafe owners who allow smoking on their premises could be fined up to Dh9,900. For most Lebanese people, these are hefty fines.
Given how difficult the ban will be to implement, and the lack of official resources and monitors, some independent activists will be monitoring the ban themselves.
They will have their work cut out for them. Daily smoking is more prevalent among adults in Lebanon than in any other country in the Middle East, according to World Health Organization figures from 2009. The UAE and Oman are the two lowest in the same listing. The UAE is pushing on with its smoking ban in public spaces, and there are ambitions to force shisha cafes out of residential areas.
Syria, meanwhile, became the first Arab state to enforce a national smoking ban, in April 2010. Shisha-cafe owners there had the same complaints, but until the deadly conflict this year, the smoking ban was relatively well-obeyed, according to residents of Damascus.
Sure, Lebanon has bigger problems than tobacco, such as an unreliable electricity system, poor safety, too much corruption, no proper infrastructure, and high unemployment, to name a few woes. And yes, smoking may be the only way for some to "unwind" given all of Lebanon's past and present troubles.
"Do you know that a pack of cigarettes was more valuable than gold during the civil war in Lebanon?" my relative likes to remind me. No, I guess I didn't.
I am a non-smoker, so I couldn't be happier with this ban. To my family I am the "one with asthma in her head", as I used to wear face masks around them and jump on the table as a kid to protest their non-stop steam-engine sessions of smoking. Nothing ever worked.
Even having relatives who died from cancer, two from lung cancer, doesn't seem to worry them much. "We will die anyway" seems to be the attitude.
True. But until then, I for one will enjoy the new-found fresh air.
On Twitter: @ArabianMau