On Jan. 1, Quebec will officially become a non-smoking province and student smokers at Concordia will feel the repercussions.
In the coming year, all indoor spaces on the university, including the Hive and Reggie’s, will become non-smoking areas. The smoking ban will also extend its boundaries to nine metres from any university building entrance, forcing many student smokers to find new areas where they could have their nicotine fix.
The new by-law is stirring a lot of controversy between smokers and non-smokers, with the hottest topic of discussion being the ban in bars and other smoking establishments. Many non-smokers hope the extra push to alienate smokers will encourage more people to quit, while others think the law will have too many negative effects on the city of Montreal.
By implementing the new by-law, the city of Montreal is following in the footsteps of many other cities which have already enforced the ban. Residents of these cities, which include Toronto, Vancouver, New York and many in Europe, have quickly noticed the effects of no indoor smoking.
In Edmonton, a letter to a local newspaper complained about large groups of intoxicated bar-goers forced into the streets to smoke, exposing pedestrians to harassment from the crowds.
The university population at Concordia seems to be split on the issue, despite individual decisions to smoke or not.
Journalism student Melanie Meloche believes the ban will be a good thing. Meloche, who is a non-smoker, said she sometimes has difficulty deciding whether or not to go to a bar because she hates the lingering smell.
First year student Cailey Cooper agrees with Meloche. Cailey said that although she smokes, “people smoking around me still bothers me sometimes. And if it bothers me that much, how must non-smokers feel?”
Other smoking students have also said they have had to leave bars because of the smoke. To these students, the issue is not non-smokers versus smokers, but fresh air versus smoke-filled air.
On the other hand, Lisa Sookrag, an employee of Reggie’s campus pub, said the ban is “ridiculous.” Sookrag said she finds it very enjoyable to work in an environment where she can smoke and believes people should be able to exercise their right to light up. While she agrees that banning cigarettes in restaurants is a good idea, Sookrag believes that if people do not want to be around smoke, they shouldn’t be in a bar.
Despite their misgivings, smokers will have to face the frigid Quebec winters starting this year. With temperatures reaching well below zero, this may motivate many smokers to trade in the Player’s for Nicorette.
For more on the smoking ban, see pg. 19.