Ontario and Quebec Ban Smoking in Public Places

Criticism, applause on first day of smoking ban
CANADIAN PRESS - May 31st, 2006.

There's both criticism and applause on the first day of new smoking bans in Ontario and Quebec that prohibit smoking in all enclosed workplaces and public places.

The Committee to Save Charity Bingo says about half of Ontario's 100 charity bingo halls will have to close within the next 13 months with losses exceeding $50 million.

It wants the Ontario government to allow separate, ventilated, designated smoking rooms in charity bingo halls.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Cancer Society is applauding the decision to ban smoking, saying it puts people's health first.

Peter Goodhand, head of the Ontario division of the Canadian Cancer Society, says the province's law is one of the toughest in North America and will save lives.

The society says 16,000 Ontarians die of tobacco-related illness and 3,000 die from the effects of second-hand smoke each year.

The major difference between the two provincial laws is that Ontario does not allow smoking on roofed patios.

In Quebec City, provincial Health Minister Philippe Couillard welcomed Day 1 of the ban.

"We know there are concrete examples of people being so happy being able to have breakfast this morning," Couillard said. `I can see my eggs. There's no haze of smoke between me and my breakfast.' And people will appreciate that."

Couillard said there has been no catastrophe anywhere in the world where such a ban has been imposed.

"If Ireland was able to ban cigarettes in its pubs, it would be pretty surprising if Quebec can't do the same in its bars," he added.