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EDITORIAL: Smoking ban is long overdue

The MV Confederation, flagship of the Northumberland Ferries operation between Wood Islands, P.E.I. and Caribou, Nova Scotia
The MV Confederation - submitted photo.

The list of where people can smoke is going to get shorter once Northumberland Ferries puts its nosmoking policy in place.

On Sunday, the company is banning smoking on its two ferries — the MV Confederation and the MV Holiday Island — for the hour and 15-minute crossing between Wood Islands, P.E.I., and Caribou, N.S.

Not only is smoking banned on the ferries, it’s also banned at the terminals.

The ban applies to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping and smoking cannabis.

Even so, we have to admit that it is a unique application of the policy. It’s fair to question how second-hand smoke in a designated smoking area on the deck of a ferry (or a cruise ship) is going to impact anyone.

But as Don Cormier, Northumberland Ferries’ general manager and president told The Guardian, the policy change is about providing a healthy environment for employees as well as travelling customers. So, really, this policy is the same as it is with any other business. And, this policy is long overdue.

At one time, people could smoke on airplanes. Smoking used to be the norm inside of bars, pubs, hotel rooms, shopping malls, public parks and even newsrooms.

Via Rail had smoking cars on its trains. Now, train travellers have to get off at one of the stops in order to spark up.

There are no stops along the Northumberland Strait, unless you’re asked to walk the plank.

Homeowners can smoke inside their residence. But if they are renters, the expectation is they have to smoke 15 feet from the building’s entrance.

The ferries’ new policy is like all the others, and people are going to have to adjust their habits.

For the hard-core smokers who can’t go 75 minutes without lighting up, they can smoke to their heart's content as they drive across the Confederation Bridge. Or, they can smoke in their vehicle while waiting to board a ferry, unless of course someone under the age of 19 is also in the vehicle. And, while smoking is banned at the terminals, there are areas around the terminals where people can go for a smoke.

There will be some push back from smokers, especially those who wrongly claim that they are being unfairly discriminated against. But smokers don’t have the right to impact other people’s health with their unhealthy smoking habits.

And who knows? Maybe this policy will give some motivation to regular ferry passengers to quit smoking altogether.

Regardless, this is the policy, and the more places that ban smoking the better.

Smokers may not like it, but this is the world we live in, and have lived in for a while.

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