Volume 95, Issue 2
Thursday, May 31, 2001
S.O.S. (Save our smokes)
The City of London has decided to improve its image and health by making all restaurants smoke-free by Feb. 2002. But do not fret, your precious bars will remain smoke infested, at least for now. The city will, it can be assumed follow in the footsteps of Kitchener and Toronto by banning all public smoking both in bars and pubs.
Although this has the majority of non-smokers cheering sweet justice, one has to properly examine both sides of the scale.
It seems logical to outlaw smoking in restaurants where there are children to watch out for, but in bars and pubs where the customers are all adults, it remains another story.
For instance, we must consider the detrimental effects it could have on local businesses.
It is far from uncommon for a group of smokers to meet at a restaurant for dinner in which they would drink, eat and soon after eating, remain stagnate in order to consume a couple more drinks while smoking.
So what happens when instead of hanging around, they leave in a rush in order to obtain their much-needed nicotine fix? Here, it appears, many businesses will lose money.
Then arises the question of enforcement. Tension is most definitely going to transpire when a drunken group of individuals standing in a smoke-free bar decide to say "to hell with it" and light up. Who is going to stop them and is the possibility of a conflict – which sometimes gets violent when alcohol is involved – really worth it?
On the other side of the coin, non-smokers' must tolerate smoke-infested environments all the time. The common reply is to tell people who do not want to hang out in smokey bars to stay home. However, because the number of non-smokers remains greater than the number of smokers, shouldn't bars be catering to the desires of the many?
If only one bar in London was to go non-smoking, that establishment could easily be avoided by most, as there is often times at least one smoker in a group of friends. However, if all bars were forced to go smoke free, it would be unavoidable and no one bar would be worse off.
Therefore as London makes the necessary moves to ban smoking in all restaurants – bars and pubs should be left alone. These are places where only adults gather; that is to say, people who are old enough to know the consequences and weigh their options.
London has a obligation to watch out for the rights of the young, but
not to baby the adults. Ban smoking in restaurants, but leave the bars
and pubs alone.
Copyright © The Gazette 2000