As he peers through his swollen eyes and shows his bruises to a group of journalists, Gerhard Grunberg is bemused at the way in which he has secured his few minutes of fame.
The waiter, 57, was the first reported victim of "bar rage" in Germany after smoking bans were introduced in bars and restaurants across the country on January 1.
He explains how he politely ushered a smoker outside the Vienna Bar in which he works in southern Berlin, pointing out to him the couch, red blanket and gas heater set up for smokers. "But the man said I was taking away his rights, and then he threw the punch," he recalls.
The new law has triggered a rebellion and many people have taken drastic and imaginative measures so they can continue smoking.
One campaigner went as far as to issue a T-shirt bearing a yellow star of David along with the word "smoker", comparing the "persecution" of smokers to that of Jews under the Nazis. The outrage of Jewish groups led to its withdrawal.
Refusing to face reality, some pub and club owners have even tried to turn their establishments into member-owning smoking clubs, like Hamburg's Association for the Preservation of Smoke Culture and Advancement of Tolerance.
The owner of the Mouse Trap pub in Schleswig-Holstein has lodged an application to turn it into a church. "I consider the burning of tobacco to be a religious practice," said Dirk Bruckner, who already boasts around 400 followers.
While smoking in bars is technically already illegal, fines of between $7 and $145 for those who continue to light up will not be implemented until July, when orderlies will be sent to inspect establishments.
As a result, many Berliners in particular - considered to have one of the most pronounced counter-cultures of any city in Europe and therefore used to putting up a fight - are holding out until then. So where you can smoke and where you cannot could hardly be more confusing.
"We're not really thinking about it until the summer," said the manager of Diskothek 103 in the traditional anarchists' heartland, Kreuzberg. "Then we might build a separate smokers' lounge."
Indeed, another quirk in the law, allowing smokers into establishments with separate rooms, has led to an explosion of creative solutions, from no-smoker tunnels now being mass-produced out of plaster cast to mobile smoker rooms, complete with DJ and sofas, which are touring the city picking up disgruntled smokers.
The renowned British musician Joe Jackson, a defender of smokers' rights, says the ban goes against the city's famously rebellious and relaxed nature.
"It is a catastrophic development for Berlin, much worse than for other cities, because this city was always a symbol of freedom and tolerance... It has bars that never close, brothels, clubs in which people have sex... everything is allowed, but smoking is forbidden? It makes no sense,' he told the German newspaper TAZ.
But a handful of the one third-plus of Germans who smoke have taken to leaving the country. Bars on the Polish side of the border are full of Germans coming to enjoy their customary cigarette.
In the London Pub in Slubice, across the river from Frankfurt an der Oder, a group of middle-aged Germans are swigging and puffing to their hearts' content. "It's just like in the old days,' says Dieter Neubauer, who strolled over the border after work.
（英语点津 Celene 编辑）
About the broadcaster:
Bernice Chan is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Bernice has written for newspapers and magazines in Hong Kong and most recently worked as a broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, producing current affairs shows and documentaries.