Puffing on patios a ‘no go’

2009-08-29 00:00

THE National Council Against Smoking has called for greater regulation of smoking areas in restaurants and pubs, and for heftier fines for those who flout the law.

This comes ahead of new regulations gazetted for public comment next week, making it illegal to smoke on verandahs, patios and balconies of restaurants, pubs and clubs.

According to the Tobacco Products Control Amendment Act, regulations stipulate that restaurants and pubs with 35 seats or fewer must become non-smoking restaurants, but can have a designated smoking section if the owner can afford a partition.

The amendment bans smoking in any building used for childcare and schooling and in any vehicle carrying children younger than 12.

The council’s Yusuf Saloojee told Weekend Witness this legislation means certain areas in eating and entertainment establishments are “no-go” zones.

While the majority of eating houses and entertainment areas in Durban and Pietermaritzburg adhere to smoking regulations, Saloojee said there are still some that flout these rules.

He said the Health Department needs to address the issue of regulation so that non-smoking patrons at pubs and restaurants are not subjected to secondary smoke.

“It’s up to the public. Ordinary people have to stand up and demand their right to breathe fresh, clean air while dining at a restaurant or pub,” he said.

Saloojee said the increase of the R200 fine to R50 000 is a step in the right direction, but businesses need to take more responsibility for their patrons.

He said that while the fine is substantial, it should be increased further as a deterrent.

However, Kayleigh Roux, manager of Bean Bag Bohemia in Morningside, said the new law is ridiculous.

“… they should rather take the money used for these laws and use it to alleviate poverty,” said Roux.

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