Should smoking be banned on Toronto patios?
A smoking ban could be back on the table for Toronto patios and other public areas, like sports fields and beaches. Approximately a year ago, the Toronto Board of Health initiated a public consultation process on toughening the city's smoking by-laws, which currently prohibit one from lighting up in the workplace or within nine metres of a public playground (amongst other places). As a result of these consultations, Toronto's Medical Officer has formally recommended that smoking be banned on restaurant and bar patios as well as other key outdoor public areas.
"Based on the consultation findings, review of actions in other jurisdictions, health evidence on outdoor tobacco smoke exposure, the importance of smoke-free role models for children and youth, and public opinion data, this report recommends the Board of Health support making the following outdoor spaces smoke-free: public building entrances and exits, sports fields, specific amenities in parks, swimming beaches, public squares, bar and restaurant patios and hospital grounds."
A common argument when this particular debate comes up is that a ban on patio smoking will ultimately hurt a restaurant or bar's business. So while it's hardly surprising that the Medical Officer would make such recommendations, it should be noted that patio owners were included in the consultation process. The recommendation will be considered by the Board of Health on September 30th. City council would have to approve any change to existing smoking legislation.
What do you think? Is this a step in the right direction?
Photo by HappyLuck in the blogTO Flickr pool