It will soon be illegal to smoke on patios, playgrounds and public sports fields in Ontario.
The provincial government said Friday it is enacting regulatory changes to make good on previously announced tobacco control measures. The changes take effect on Jan. 1.
The government will also ban cigarette sales on university and college campuses.
“We congratulate the government of Ontario on these new regulations,” says Rowena Pinto of the Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division.
She says that a decade ago most smokers started using tobacco before the age of 18. But now she says more and more people are starting to smoke after the age of 19, so she applauds the ban on sale of tobacco on campuses.
“Any type of restrictions on access does make a difference,” she says.
The Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association is reacting to the new rules in a different way.
“(Restaurant) owners do not disagree with the smoking ban in public spaces but the expectations that restaurant owners and operators are lumped into the smoking ban without, really, a solution to the smoking problem – it’s totally unfair,” says CEO Tony Elenis. “It is going to impact many across Ontario.”
Supporters of the ban argue that restaurants and bars weren’t impacted by the ban of indoor smoking eight years ago. Elenis says that’s “partially right.”
“Many operators grew their business because of the non-smoking,” he says. “Because the customer, at the end of the day, dictates the business growth.”
At the same time, he says there were many bars, like pool halls, that have suffered.
“Many closed down, and many have had margins deteriorate,” he says.
Elenis expects that more people will now be smoking on sidewalks, which doesn’t solve the issue of second-hand smoke.
“If smoking is a big issue… then (the government) should ban it altogether.”