It is indeed exciting that we are finally going to get a tobacco passed and I would like to thank everyone who has struggled to make this a reality.
I would like too constructively point out what I feel are a couple of areas that may have been watered down too much in this final draft of the bill.
First the exemption for outdoor bars and restaurant areas is a concern. To me this seems a bit of unusual.
Why is it OK for me to eat or have a drink indoors and not be bothered by smoke, but outdoors I do not have the same protection?
Anyone how has sat downwind from a smoker knows that being outdoors does not eliminate the problem of second hand smoke. This will mean that the nonsmokers, to be assured to dine smoke free, will be relegated to doing so indoors.
Also to consider, should my right to be smoke free be less at an outdoor restaurant than it is at an outdoor park? Right now one of my favourite spots is an outdoor establishment it is now likely to become a haven for smokers.
Smoking sections outdoors will work no better than they did indoors in keeping nonsmokers and employees free from the hassle of smoke. Also to be considered is will cigars be allowed in the above mentioned outdoor bar and restaurant areas?
My other concern is the exemption for cigar bars.
I say let them have their cigars but not cigarettes. If this is not to be changed there needs to be a very strict definition of what a cigar bar is.
They should be separately licensed and regulated to assure that this does not become a loop hole in the law. I very much fear that if this is not done many establishments will declare themselves cigar bars just to be able to allow smoking. There needs to be strong regulations in this regard or I feel certain it will get out of hand.
I am sure there is pressure from the restaurant/bar industry and others to lobby for the least effective legislation possible. I think it is important enough of an issue to make sure we get it right the first time and make sure whatever is settled on does in fact have teeth in it.
Otherwise we are not really moving forward but just giving lip service to the issue.
Again my thanks to all who have helped to get us to this stage and those who will continue the work necessary to make any legislation meaningful.