Ban seen as discriminatory

    A proposed smoking and vaping ban on restaurant patios in Winnipeg, Canada, is being called discriminatory by some local smokers, according to a story by Maggie Macintosh for the Winnipeg Free Press.
    Winnipeg is the last major Canadian municipality where people can smoke while enjoying a meal or patio beer, but that may not be the case by the spring.
    Winnipeg’s community services department has recommended a ban on the use of cigarettes, cigars, pipes, electronic cigarettes, water pipes, hookahs and ‘similar products/devices’ on outdoor patios where food or drinks are served.
    If the City Council approves the ban it will go into force on April 1.
    One smoker interviewed described the proposed ban as offensive. The fact that she was a smoker didn’t make her any less of a restaurant customer.
    But councillor Mike Pagtakhan, who doubles as the chairman of the standing policy committee that moved the motion to introduce the ban, said 76 percent of Winnipeggers surveyed, which was “an accurate cross-section” of the city, supported a ban on outdoor patio smoking.
    About 21 percent of men and 12 percent of women smoke in Manitoba, according to 2014 Statistics Canada data.
    Some of those interviewed believed that the issue could be addressed by having separate patio areas for smokers and non-smokers.
    And others thought that decisions about patio bans should be left to the business owners.
    But Pagtakhan said that since Winnipeg was the last major city in Canada to ban smoking on patios, it was “about time” to do so.