January 1st marked the start of the Nova Scotia version of the popular smoking ban. It is now illegal to smoke in any public place before 9:00 p.m. Restaurants and bars are responsible for policing the law: they must build enclosed smoking rooms, or ban evening smoking altogether. This is being done for the sole purpose of protecting the helpless serving staff, who are indentured to their employers, and are powerless to control the conditions of their employment. The government must act to protect them from the effects of second hand smoke, a known carcinogen. .
For their part, the serving staff are also generally against the smoking ban, because they fear for the viability of their places of work, and the potential drop in tipping customers. Restaurant and bar owners are up in arms, citing the potential loss of business, or the expense of adding dedicated smoking rooms, usually estimated to be between $10-25 large. The forecast is for most places to go the non-smoking route. (I say forecast because the city hasn't started enforcing the law yet. There's a grace period of a few months first. Also, the opposition Liberal party of Nova Scotia is vowing to ban smoking altogether if they win the next provincial election. Given the uncertainty, some restauranteurs don't know whether to shit or wind their watches.) .
Given the uncertainty, some restauranteurs don't know whether to shit or wind their watches. .
On the surface, this appears a reasonable compromise. Hard drinking, social smokers can puff away well into the morning, staff pursuing big tips can choose to serve them, employees preferring a smoke-free environment can work the day shift, and moderate non-smokers can stop in at the tavern on a Tuesday afternoon and come out smelling of only hops and barley. Sounds reasonable. I"m totally for it. .
And that's the problem. I can't reconcile the positive benefits I look to enjoy with the interventionist nanny-state nonsense the government is foisting on us to accomplish them.