The trend in Saskatchewan, and indeed throughout Canada, is towards restricting smoking in public places, to help reduce the presence of second-hand smoke and the dangers to the health of non-smokers.
Even the efforts of the government is towards reducing the numbers of people who smoke, due to the heavy cost to publicly-funded health care services to treat the results of smoking in people who choose to smoke in spite of knowing that they are likely candidates for lung cancer, throat cancer, emphysema and any number of related illnesses.
The provincial government, with our own MLA Dustin Duncan as the Minister of Health, is even wanting to sue tobacco companies for selling a product that kills and maims people for life, including the health of people who’ve never smoked a cigarette in their lives.
It is precisely because of the real dangers of second-hand smoke that regulations even prevent smokers from smoking near doorways when they go outside to smoke (since public facilities and establishments prohibit smoking smoking inside).
So why is it then that there is a loophole for smokers that allows them to light up and pollute the air on open-air decks for lounges and restaurants? Can this really be, in an era no public place anywhere will allow smoking?
Some municipalities have taken the correct step to ban smoking on restaurant decks and patios since the government has not done so, which is quite baffling considering how very strict they are trying to be on where people can and cannot smoke.
Since the local municipality can in fact enact this restriction, every town and city should do so, including the City of Weyburn; it is unconscionable to think there are public places where smokers can sit down next to non-smokers, with food and drink present, and light up! In addition, what about the health of those employed in these facilities, who have no choice but to breathe in the smoke as they’re serving their customers? Shouldn’t they have a healthy environment too?
This is a public health issue, and it doesn’t just concern those who have asthma and other respiratory ailments; the general public, most of whom do not smoke, do not want to breathe in carcinogens known to cause disease and cancer. This concerns every man, woman and child — so let’s act and ensure this loophole gets closed, for all our sakes.