By Lyonel Doherty
Looks like Town council is playing hardball with smokers via its new Smoke Free Bylaw.
We can’t really blame them considering the health implications of second-hand smoke, particularly on children.
But where do you expect people to indulge in their habit when you’ve taken more of their smoke venues away? Hide out in the bushes? Suffocate in their cars? In the middle of a parking lot or field?
By all accounts, even walking down Main Street could be problematic because you’re not supposed to smoke within 7.5 metres of any entranceway. Well, try avoiding that one. You’d have to make a mad dash for it while being chased by a bylaw officer. “Stop that smoker, he’s breaking the town ordinance!”
Speaking of enforcement, this bylaw could be a real nightmare, particularly during the summer months when visitors come to Oliver.
Although not a done deal yet, the bylaw (the way it is written now) would do away with customer service areas that currently allow smoking. Murphy’s Pub and Grill is a prime example. Most if not all of their customers who use the patio smoke. So if that is taken away, there goes a lot of business. Hopefully the Town can work something out with Murphy’s and other similar establishments.
Murphy’s owner Christine Mackinnon made a very good point by saying if smoking is so bad for your health, why is tobacco (a known killer) still being sold?
Let’s take a wild guess. Taxes, greed or all of the above? It’s clear somebody out there doesn’t have a conscience.
Despite how overzealous the bylaw might be, a lot of smokers will concur that cracking down on this bad habit is a good thing for the health and well-being of the community.
But cutting them off cold turkey may be a little unreasonable. Offer them some solutions to help them quit. Publish a list of areas where it’s okay to smoke in town. There has to be somewhere. Envision the establishment of a “smoker’s park,” but that may sound too tongue in cheek. One sign would read, “Smokers must be kept on a leash at all times.” Another sign would say, “No ifs, ands or butts.”
All jokes aside, smokers are humans who contribute just as much to society as non-smokers. Many of them are self-aware and do everything they can to not subject others to their nasty habit. In fact, we can’t remember the last time we coughed because a smoker exhaled in our faces.