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Designated Smoking Rooms Sought For Quebec


MONTREAL – Quebec’s new Tobacco Act, set to come into
effect Jan. 1, 2006, will have a devastating impact on Quebec
businesses whose clientele include a high proportion of smoking
customers, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice
Association.

MONTREAL – Quebec’s new Tobacco Act, set to come into effect Jan. 1, 2006, will have a devastating impact on Quebec businesses whose clientele include a high proportion of smoking customers, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservice Association.

The start date for the total ban gives the industry less than eight months to transition to smoke-free operations, the CRFA noted in a recent news release – not enough time to fully address concerns.

“Twenty-five per cent of the Quebec population – or 1.2 million people – continue to smoke, and in many businesses, such as bars, pubs, nightclubs and taverns, that represents more than half of all customers,” said Jean Lefebvre, vice-president, CRFA’s Council of Chain Restaurants: Quebec.

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“Cessation efforts led by the government are to be commended, but it’s unreasonable to ask business to pay the price for such initiatives. The economic impact of total smoking bans in licensed establishments in Canada, the U.S. and Europe is irrefutable.”

Designated smoking rooms (DSRs) offer an alternative to total smoking bans and have been successfully introduced in jurisdictions across Canada and around the world. When DSRs were introduced in British Columbia in May 2002, 92 per cent of foodservice establishments opted to go smoke-free. The remaining eight per cent – almost all in the liquor-licensed sector – chose to construct DSRs with controls that limit customer and employee exposure to second hand smoke. 

“The legislation tabled (in May) effectively tells business owners that they must quit ‘cold turkey’ on Jan. 1, with no option for DSRs and no transition period to allow businesses to move with their customers to a smoke-free environment. Just as smokers need time to kick the habit, so too do the businesses that serve them. This is the message we will be taking to the government in this month’s public hearings, where we will propose DSRs as a sensible solution for Quebec,” Lefebvre said.

On May 5, the Ministry of Health and Social Services released a report with the key findings from public consultations held earlier this year.  Fifty per cent of public respondents in Quebec supported some form of DSRs as a reasonable alternative to a total smoking ban. 

Quebec’s $9.7 billion restaurant and foodservice industry is one of the province’s largest employers, providing more than 222,000 jobs in communities across the province.�