Government interference into the private activities of ordinary Ontarians ramped up significantly on January 1, 2015 when new regulations to the Smoke Free Ontario kicked in. These changes dramatically altered the way tobacco is sold and enjoyed in Ontario. The biggest impact was the smoking ban on all patio’s where food and beverages are served –even those where age restrictions limit patronage to adults 19 and over. This is what happens when ideology trumps common sense and practicality. At 8PM, a bar owner with a patio can not take out ashtrays and allow patrons to enjoy a cigar. Really?

It’s remarkably embarrassing that in a world class city like Toronto, there is no place, I mean no place, where you can sit down, order a drink, and have it served to you while you enjoy a cigar. Crazy. Smoke Free Ontario, where is the common sense in that?

As we have talked about many times since then, this is not the first time that the government has encroached on our personal freedoms –like the freedom of the bar owner to run their establishment as they see fit or the freedom of cigar smokers to enjoy a legal product. That the government levies huge taxes on cigars yet profits financially from their purchase while limiting consumers ability to enjoy that product to a few places, is in itself a big hypocrisy. I know of many non-smokers who defend our right to enjoy a legal product because of their concern that the government appears willing to go after legal public activities that they deem socially unacceptable. What’s next? “No cheeseburgers for you, you could lose a few pounds”?

Since then we have complied with the new laws and continue to look for legal alternate sites where we can enjoy cigars together. 10 meter, self serve F&B zones have been established at many golf and private clubs. While not perfect, they are legal as are the homes, back yards and cabanas of many of our customers who host events on our behalf. We have used many of these options and will continue to do do so in 2018. We will let you know 2018 details soon. In the meantime, we have had Toronto Public Health to the shop and our small table out front is yours to enjoy.

Stay tuned.