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Publisher’s Comment – Up in Smoke: Smoking Ban Is Bound to Hurt Business

Tuesday, June 2. For me, it was business as usual. Come 5 p.m., I pulled out of the company parking lot. I guess my truck sensed I had had a stressful day because, before I knew it, I was at my local watering hole. Ahh, life was good.



Tuesday, June 2. For me, it was business as usual. Come 5 p.m., I pulled out of the company parking lot. I guess my truck sensed I had had a stressful day because, before I knew it, I was at my local watering hole. Ahh, life was good.

But wait, that day there was something different. Some of the regulars were conspicuous in their absence. Chris, John, Scott, Mike, nobody had seen them. For the first time since I started frequenting the pub, I’m without my pals.

Over the years, the five of us had solved many of the world’s problems. Unemployment, the escalating crime in Toronto, Iraq, Toronto’s homeless…we had it all figured out (well, at least John did). It did make for great conversation and in fact, many of my columns have been inspired by those sessions.

As long as I was home by 6:12 p.m., my significant other had no idea of how frequently I attended these meetings.

So what did make that day different?

It may be a coincidence but it just so happens that Toronto bars went non-smoking (with a few exceptions) the day before and go figure, my friends all enjoy a smoke with their pint.

I’m not going to use this column to argue the pros and cons of this bylaw but one thing is for sure, it will have a financial impact on this establishment’s business.

I don’t care what they say. Maybe only 23 per cent of the country smoke, but here, the vast majority enjoys a puff with their brew.

In fact, it’s almost a complete reversal.

If the owner wants to keep these regulars, he’ll need to invest in a designated smoking room. Considering he doesn’t own the building and in a few years even this option will be taken away, it is a bad business decision.

I don’t know his profit margins but I do know it will take a lot longer then two years to recover an investment of that size.

He and his wife have devoted the last four years of their lives building this business.

They employ 30 people (most whom are smokers I might add) and now live with the real possibility they’ll be laying at least some of them off. It’s sad and I feel for all of them.

I guess you can liken it to the ever-increasing cost of diesel. It too, is out of your hands.

They say change is good, but on this one, I’m sitting on the fence.

– Rob Wilkins is the publisher of Truck News and he can be reached at 1-416-442-2097.


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