Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ontario Smoking Law Encounters "Glitch"

Via the Toronto Star, a 20 year-old Port Hope man has been nabbed under Ontario's new smoking laws.

His offence?

Smoking in his vehicle in the presence of a 15 year-old smoker:

A curious situation arose Saturday, when 20-year-old Port Hope resident Tory Ashton was given a $155 ticket for smoking in his vehicle with a person under the age of 16 present.

As the police officer was writing the ticket, the 15-year-old passenger – the reason the car was stopped – hopped out of the car and lit her own cigarette. Legally.

And the officer could do nothing about it.

....Saturday's incident was one of the first cases of a driver fined under the law, which took effect Jan. 21, designed to protect young people from highly concentrated levels of second-hand smoke.

Ashton said he was frustrated he was given the ticket.

"She's 15, she smokes also and ... they're giving me the fine," he told CTV.

Adding to the discussion (with an exercise in happy hyperbole), CTV news reports that local police apparently worry that public unrest may be just around the corner:

PORT HOPE, Ont. -- It's only a matter of time before someone "snaps" after being pulled over under Ontario's new law forbidding smoking in a vehicle carrying a minor, a police officer said Monday in response to a quirk in the legislation that was made evident during a weekend incident.

"People got mad enough when they couldn't smoke in bars anymore or bingo parlours," said Sgt. Bryant Wood, a police officer in the eastern Ontario town of Port Hope."Now you're telling them they can't smoke in cars. At some point somebody's going to snap along the way here."

- Garry J. Wise, Toronto

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