If the snow isn’t keeping smokers inside this winter, perhaps new smoking laws will.
As of Jan. 1, 2015, the latest additions to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act make it illegal to smoke on or near children’s playgrounds and sports fields, within nine metres of bar and restaurant patios, and to sell tobacco on university and college campuses.
LinX has implemented procedural changes to enforce these new laws. In addition to stickers posted on doors nearest to the pub to ward off smokers, manager Daniela Trozzolo said they are not allowing students on the patio.
She said if a student wishes to smoke, they are given a wristband and led to a secure area at least nine metres from the entrance. The student is then able to bypass the line back inside.
Trozzolo said this has not affected business at LinX this semester.
“If anything our business has increased. I don’t really think it’s going to impact our business. We have a patio but we don’t really rely on it as much as other businesses do,” she said.
Despite the larger number of students attending the pub, the crowds outside the doors are dwindling.
“Essentially, no one smokes at LinX anymore. Period,” said Trozzolo. “There are strict fines and penalties for businesses who don’t follow the legislation. It’s much steeper than the individual penalties.”
Individuals can be fined $1,000 for their first offense and $5,000 for every subsequent offense. For corporations that don’t enforce the laws, these numbers are $100,000 and $300,000 respectively.
Trozzolo said the staff at LinX have not had problems with people disrespecting the laws so far.
“If we do find anyone smoking on our patio, we simply ask them at this point to put out their cigarette,” said Trozzolo. “If they become non-compliant, we ask them to leave.”
Tammy Robinson, of Strategic Communications for the City of Toronto, said the laws are enforced by the department of Municipal Licensing and Standards throughout the city with a similar approach.
“We educate first, and then enforce,” said Robinson. “If we see people smoking where they shouldn’t be, we let them know about the bylaw and ask that they not smoke.”
There seems to be acceptance and respect for the laws at Humber. Chris Parsons-Flemming, a 28-year-old first year Arboriculture student, said he would love to quit smoking, but the laws are not going to push him to do it.
“Good for them for trying to help the community,” said Parsons-Flemming. “I’ll support it but it’s a little irritating. If people want to smoke, they’re going to have to do that extra walk.”