Smoking law laxity common in PMB

2010-08-21 00:00

OWNERS of restaurants and pubs are dancing around laws restricting smoking in public spaces.

The laws, introduced last year, have seen offenders staring at a R50 000 fine. Non-smoking areas include “partially enclosed” spaces, such as covered patios, verandas, balconies, walkways and parking areas. Smoking is only allowed in an area completely closed off from the rest of the venue, separately ventilated and not more than 25% of the floor space.

But all over the city, nightclubs and bars are ignoring the law.

At Shunters Pub in Mkondeni there are “no smoking” signs throughout the bar, but customers and staff smoke openly.

Co-owner Simon Hattingh says the new laws have been very difficult to adjust to. “We do have a designated smoking area … but the customers complain that it is too hot in there and that it is too far from the bar,” said Hattingh.

“If I had to tell customers they couldn’t smoke at the bar anymore they wouldn’t come back to the pub and I’ll lose business.”

Hattingh insisted that he has done what he can.

“We don’t put ashtrays in the bar area, but customers will fetch them … I have told them that if an inspector comes they will be liable to pay the fine and they seem okay with that.”

Other places have attempted to abide by the new laws, but found it difficult because of the layout of their establishments.

Brad Grieve, owner of Franki Bananaz bar and the Butcher Boys restaurant, said that he has never been approached by anybody from the police or Health Department regarding the smoking laws, but has made alterations to meet the requirements of the new laws.

He added that he approached the Health Department seeking advice, but got no feedback.

Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Joey Jeevan said enforcing smoking laws is not the responsibility of the police force.

“We don’t police smoking at all,” she said. “It is policed by the department of Health and private security companies.”

Health spokesperson Chris Maxon was too busy dealing with the strike to comment.

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