CORNER BROOK — Jean Mehaney says bars are better for everyone since the smoking ban of 2005.
“A lot of people complained about the smoke,” said Mehaney, a waitress at the Crown and Moose Pub in Corner Brook. “Nonsmoking was better for the staff and their customers.”
This week is National Nonsmoking Week, which runs until Jan. 22.
The Crown and Moose has been non-smoking since 2003, when it first opened its doors. On July 1, 2005, the Newfoundland smoke-free environment act was amended in all public places, including bars and bingo halls.
Smoking is also banned on outside patios and decks of liquor establishments and food premises, which are not allowed to offer a designated smoking room for patrons.
Mehaney said most people have been in agreement with the law.
“At first there was a grumble here and grumble there,” she said. “But most people, for the most part, did accept it and just went with it.
“I’m a nonsmoker,” said Mehaney. “I think a lot of people should be nonsmokers.”
Mehaney has been a waitress for 26 years and she said when the bars and restaurants allowed smoking it was hard on the employees.
Chris Bowring says business at Whelan’s Gate has been the same since the ban.
“I don’t think the non-smoking rule has affected any business,” said Bowring, manager. “It may have affected the day trade somewhat, but I don’t think it’s affected the nighttime or business overall.”
Bowring said people will patronize bars regardless of a smoking ban.
“People aren’t going to stop to come out for gatherings because you can’t smoke in them,” he said. “They’re going to smoke outside or they’re going to do whatever ... it’s just become the way now ... like nine places out of 10 are non-smoking establishments, and that’s just the way it’s going to be.”
Patrons may smoke on the patio in the back at Whelan’s Gate, however, drinks are not allowed.
“It’s stupid,” said Bowring. “But hey, I don’t make the rules, I abide by them.”
“I can remember the days when it was a smoking bar,” he said. “You get half a dozen clientele in the afternoon — you’d just be sitting in a cloud of smoke, breathing in secondhand smoke.”
“It’s just a nasty habit,” he said.
Robert Murphy, director of western operations for the Newfoundland and Labrador Lung Association, says government was persistent when it came to nonsmoking in establishments.
“We (the association) were very instrumental in pushing that forward,” said Murphy. “We were part of the plan to have that implemented and I think it’s been very successful. The sky hasn’t fallen; that was predicted five years ago by some people who are opposed to it.
Murphy said the lung association would like to see smoking bans in vehicles and is trying to have the law legislated through government.
“It’s just like anything else, but how do you enforce it?” he asked. “The best way to do it is through education.”
Murphy believes society has come a long way with smoking laws.
“Twenty years ago people were smoking in elevators,” he said. “If you speak to a smoker, they all want to quit.”
The lung association will host the Best Lungs in Corner Brook Contest at Dominion Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. People partaking in the spriometry test will have a chance to enter their names in a prize draw.
Weedless Wednesday is also part of Nonsmoking Week and will be held today at the Valley Mall at 10 a.m. Free information will be provided on smoking, and it will also have a prize draw.