BY CASSIE TULECKI
As of Jan. 1 there will be a new smoking ban in Ontario that will prevent smokers from smoking on bar/restaurant patios, playgrounds, sports fields and ice rinks. Failure to comply with this law will result in the smoker receiving a $250 fine.
This is being implemented in January, a winter month, so smokers have a chance to get used to the idea of not smoking in these places before the warmer months arrive.
This is a smart move if this has to be done. Many young people who smoke when they are out to dinner or drinking at a bar enjoy being able to just go to the patio for a quick smoke without having to leave the property completely. I think starting it in January, a time when smokers don’t generally like staying outdoors too long anyhow, will help make the transition easier, but I do believe that it’s unfair to smokers.
Everyone has the right to do what they want with their own life and choose how they want to live. Smokers are already seen as outcasts and dirty. Being a smoker I’ve been yelled at for having a cigarette on a public bench which gets under my skin.
If it’s public property, others don’t really have a say if I choose to smoke there. At least, they didn’t use to.
I don’t smoke where I’m not supposed to and most of the time I will not smoke near children or crowded areas out of respect. If someone doesn’t like that I’m smoking near them, they have the choice to walk away and not be around me.
I do understand that in this day and age there are a lot of people who are very health conscious. I also believe that they should not feel trapped when they are on a restaurant patio surrounded by smokers, but I think we had it right a while ago. We had designated areas on patios for smokers.
Especially when it comes to bar patios, when smokers are drinking, they want to smoke a lot more than usual. If they are no longer able to do it on the patio I think bars will lose money as these customers will stop going there.
It almost feels like smokers are being shunned by society. It can be compared to the toxic fumes coming from cars or the plumes of toxic chemicals being pumped out of factories, but all that is still OK. Why not just ban everything that puts out any form of toxin? Exhaust from cars is still OK but smoking isn’t?
Smokers shouldn’t be shunned from public places or from patios just because they choose to smoke. I think we have the right to do what we please and not be criticized for it.
If other people don’t like it, like I said before, they can remove themselves from that situation or ask a smoker politely to blow the other way.