Montreal

A few butts about Quebec smoking ban

Some bar owners say the smoking ban has not had an effect on business, while others estimate that sales have gone down by 25 per cent over the past month.

Quebec's strict new smoking ban, now a month old,is getting mixed reviews from bars and restaurants.

"We have to get the sidewalk swept a lot more often. If not, we'd be stepping in ashtrays outside," said Lee-Ann Kavasik, manager at Dundees' Bar and Grill,referring to the butts left on the ground by smokers.

The sidewalks on Crescent Street may be dirtier since the ban on smoking in bars and restaurants was introduced on May 31, Kavasik said, but it hasn't affected her bottom line.

"Absolutely no change. None whatsoever. People are a little more— not aggressive — but they're leaving the building more than they were before," Kavasik said.

Down the street, Stephen Boyd is much less upbeat about the ban.

Business has dropped by almost 25 per cent since the ban went into effect, the co-owner of the Irish pub Claddagh said.

"We don't have to worry about ashtrays. We don't have to worry about people burning tables or dropping cigarettes on chairs … that in itself is a bonus, but at the same time it's hitting you in the wallet. Personally, I'd rather spend the money on refurbishing my chairs than losing it in the cash," Boyd said.

Boyd andKavasik agree thatthe real test of the ban's effect on business will come when the weather cools down and people are more reluctant to go outside to smoke.

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