As an ex-smoker, I clearly remember the battle for the bars and restaurants in the early 2000s. The government won the battle, which is why all the good pubs and clubs shut down in our entertainment district. When you look at the entertainment district in Toronto, it's just a severely atrophied version of its former self, consisting of temporary nightclubs that generally can't stay open longer than fruit-fly's lifespan.
The government killed the atmosphere, killed the entertainment district, and killed a large part of the local economy. Now all the pubs are smoke-free environments where hipster parents complain at people who've had a few pints for swearing in the presence of their toddlers who are still running amok in the bars at 8pm.
Personally, I gave up smoking after the government kept ratcheting up the taxes to hose as much money out of smokers as possible. They claimed that by increasing the prices, they were helping people - Yeah, I wonder how many people heard that same story from their dealers?
The problem is they think they've not done enough.
Remember that as a smoker you pay a lot of money into the tax coffers, and die early so you don't deplete the pension pot or incur 30yrs of post-retirement care. You're a model citizen, but the government is now considering doing more by extending this persecution, and remember that before you complain that you don't want to go to a smoky environment, you didn't give people the option of having smokers only venues.
But let's take a step backwards for a second:
- The official figure for tobacco related health costs on the Ontario system is $1.93bn (Source: Ontario Government).
- For alcohol the figure is $2.9bn (Source: CAMH Study on Alcohol Policy). To boot, as we're still stuck in the 1920s, the government is also the sole "dealer" of the alcohol that's creating that problem. Of course, that figure doesn't take into account policing for DUI's, car insurance payouts to victims of drunk driving, etc.
People need to mull this over in their head for a moment....