Volume 92, Issue 55

Wednesday, January 6, 1999



Student involvement boosted

Renovation plans fly along as cost increases

Deal for wheels on the move

Faculty union demands on cloud nine

Law leaves smokers in London with less eating room

An explosive holiday didn't pay for thieves


Caught on campus

Law leaves smokers in London with less eating room

By Mark Brown
Gazette Staff

Smokers in the City of London now have fewer places to light up following the implementation of the next phase of the city's smoking control bylaw.

On Jan. 1, the bylaw reduced the amount of seating in a restaurant from 50 per cent down to 25 per cent of the restaurant's total seating capacity.

"The bylaw already had a provision. That provision was due to kick in since it passed in 1995," said Bob McMillan, coordinator of tobacco control for Middlesex County and the City of London. He added this is a progressive step towards what will eventually be smoke-free restaurants by Jan. 1, 2002.

McMillan said he does not expect London to have the same problem the City of Toronto did when they imposed a 100 per cent ban on smoking in bars and restaurants a few years ago. The law was later repealed because it could not be enforced, he said. "London is more isolated. People have to go a long way to get out of it."

Although the number of seats for smoking have been reduced, McMillan said he believes the law is ineffective, since it currently states the separation between sections need only be by a walkway.

Since the bylaw only effects restaurants and not bars, the Wave, located on the third floor of the University Community Centre, must comply with the bylaw until 8 p.m.. After that time the Wave is considered a bar and is exempt.

"We are as close to complying with the changes as you can be," explained Mark Wellington, manager of the Wave. He added the Wave did not have difficulty adjusting because of the small size of the smoking area.

The change has been slightly more pronounced at other London restaurants popular among students. Andy Davidson, general manager for the Jack Astor's Bar and Grill in north London, said the smoking section fills up faster and it has been filled since the changes were made.

So far Jack Astor's has not had any problems with the changes. "We are going to be quite clear with people when they come in that they may have to wait longer if they want to sit in the smoking section," Davidson said.

Student smokers do not appear to be too concerned about the changes. "I don't really care if I am smoking or not [at a restaurant] – I'll sit wherever," said Ryan Tiernay, a third-year engineering student at Western.

Second-year political science student Tim Haapala agreed. "It's not a big difference to me, since I don't usually smoke during my meal."

Last year, only between 10 and 12 people were charged with breaking the law, McMillan said. Fines generally range between $100 and $125, with a maximum fine of $5,000.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999