Calgary bars resist smoking ban

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Calgary, Alberta and the southern Alberta city of Lethbridge became the eighth and ninth cities in Canada to ban smoking in bars and restaurants.

On October 18, 2006, Calgary City Council approved of the bylaw that bans smoking in public areas.

Exemptions were put in place for bingos, casinos, and establishments with smoking rooms until January 1, 2008. First time offenders will pay $200 in fines. A city bylaw boss said people who deliberately go against the law could pay $3,500 or more.

"Obviously, I am ecstatic about it," said Robyn Hauck back in October, who is an anti-smoking activist. "For us to be going smoke free Jan. 1, with a few exceptions, I couldn't be happier."

However, the smoking ban which came into effect on New Years Day didn't have much effect on some smokers.

"I don't ever tell anyone else how to live so they [the politicians] shouldn't tell me how to live," said resident Doug Baum, who was surprised that he could still light up at the local pub. "Pubs like this one are the last places you can still go to have a smoke and enjoy yourself."

Another bar allowed customers to smoke.

"Absolutely we'll keep smoking because it's not fair the exemptions make it discriminatory," said Chris Daskas, who owns Filo's Restaurant.