New smoking bylaws banning smokers from lighting up in places like restaurant patios and city-owned beaches and parks is getting a bit of backlash. Most non-smokers tend to love the bylaw. Many non-smokers hate it. “There are no children out here, so basically we’re adults, we’re a veterans club, we pay dues to belong to this place and now we can’t even enjoy our own patio,” says Bob Harkness of the Royal Canadian Legion in Bells Corners. The Legion falls prey to the new restrictions because it is licensed to sell alcohol like a restaurant.
Harkness says he doesn’t plan to obey the law and will continue to blow smoke in the face of the expanded ban.
In Ottawa’s bustling Byward Market there is a clear divide.
While there is a petition with more than a 1,000 signatures opposing the ban, some businesses have already embraced it.
“This patio has always been non-smoking. I think it’s a good idea. No one wants to eat and inhale cigarette smoke at the same time,” says Noah Jackson of The Grand Pizzeria and Bar on George Street.
The Ottawa councillor highly in favour says this will ensure people’s personal rights are respected.
“Your bad habits shouldn’t impact my health. If you choose to smoke that’s certainly your right to do that,” says Coun. Stephen Blais. “But…your right doesn’t trump my right to be healthy.”
Vendors in the Byward Market say their new contracts contain a warning in relation to the smoking ban.
“Our new contracts for the summer state we will have to maintain a smoke-free stand and/or bar patio or we will lose our license to vend or have a patio,” says Christine Generoux.
Generoux says they have to tell smokers to leave and go three meters with their cigarette. The fine, if caught, is $300.