“Would You Like the Smoking Section or the Non-Smoking Section?”
How quickly we have come to expect smoke-free establishments and actually take them for granted! A recent visit to an establishment in an area without a smoke-free bylaw increased my awareness of just how lucky Grey-Bruce residents are. Grey residents are even luckier because all restaurants and bars are smoke free (Bruce County permits smoking in a bar or restaurant if it applies for an exemption and meets specific requirements.) One year into the smoke-free bylaws, we certainly have many successes for which to be proud. Compliance rates are very high and tourists and residents are enjoying their first year of breathing easier in Grey and Bruce Counties.
The Grey and Bruce smoke-free bylaws are different from some other municipal bylaws in that they include not only public places but workplaces as well. This means that all indoor or enclosed workplaces are smoke free and should have in place a “smoke-free policy.”
The smoke-free bylaws do not regulate the distance outside that smokers must stand from building entrances. A workplace policy may however include the employer’s standard for the distance that smokers are permitted to stand from these entrances. This is strongly advocated by Public Health. It allows non-smokers to enter a building without having to walk through a cloud of cigarette smoke.
The term “workplace” includes all work vehicles. Work vehicles must be smoke free. Construction sites, once the buildings are enclosed, are also workplaces. And workspaces that may only have volunteers or self-employed workers must also be smoke-free. It is the employer’s, and/or manager’s, responsibility to ensure that their employees are complying with the smoke-free bylaw.
Anyone with questions regarding the smoke-free bylaws is encouraged to contact the Public Health Unit at 1-800-263-3456 or 376-9420 or visit its website at www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca .
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