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The North: not Ontario's favourite child
London moves towards total ban
By Emmett Macfarlane
A panel appointed by London
City Council plans to implement a 100 per cent non-smoking ban in public places,
including bars, bowling alleys and private clubs.
Graham Pollett, panel chair and medical officer of health for the London-Middlesex Health Unit said the nine-member panel is composed of local citizens from business, community and workplace sectors. "Really, the only requirement was that they supported a 100 per cent ban on smoking in public places," Pollett said.
Frank Stilson, a panel member from London Occupational Safety and Health Information Systems, said the group's goal is to examine the health and economic impact of a total smoking ban and to see how it can be implemented most efficiently. "We have to have a report into the council by the 30th of November," Stilson said.
The panel will also review similar bylaws in other municipalities, Stilson added.
The new bylaw follows a recently passed ban on smoking in London restaurants.
According to third-year computer science student Peter Lai, the application of the ban to private clubs is problematic. "A lot of our friends stopped eating at The Spoke when they stopped [smoking there]," Lai said.
Grad Club manager Bruce Fyfe said he was not overly concerned. "We have people that smoke here and they will probably have to find somewhere [else to go]," he said.
Fyfe said he did not think the Grad Club would lose too much business. "We are a private club [with] a membership on campus. We have a patio here and presumably the bylaw wouldn't affect outdoor smoking," Fyfe added.
Pollett said the ban does not include open-aired, fenced-in patios, but enclosed or tented patios are applicable to the bylaw.
University Students' Council manager of bars and restaurants Dan Smith said it was difficult to measure any changes to customer volume because the restaurant smoking bylaw was implemented so recently. "The Spoke was almost the smokers' haven, so there was some decrease," he said.
Third-year statistics student Herman Wan said he hoped local establishments would introduce designated smoking rooms. "In Toronto they have separate ventilation it's all cut off," he said.
Designated smoking rooms would not be allowed under the bylaw, Pollett explained.
Pollett said he understood there might be complaints about the new bylaw. "What's important to remember is second hand smoke is a health hazard, not only to [private club] members, but [employees]," he explained.