The Canadian Press
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
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.”
Nova Scotia is the only other jurisdiction in the country to have a similar law, though others are considering it. Ontario had previously banned smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces before the new legislation took effect late last month.
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Wood’s comments came a day after one of his colleagues, Const. Tammie Hartford, pulled over 20-year-old Port Hope resident Tory Ashton and wrote him a $155 ticket for smoking in his vehicle with a minor present.
Ashton was transporting several passengers, including a 15-year-old girl. While the ticket was being written, the girl – who is a smoker – got out of the car and legally lit up a cigarette.
There is no law prohibiting a 15-year-old from smoking; it is only illegal for someone under 19 years of age to purchase or sell tobacco.
Wood, who has been a police officer for 16 years, said he anticipates that as more people are written up in Ontario for the new driving violation, problems will arise.
“The problem is people believe they have the right to smoke,” he said. “It’s their vehicle, it’s their free will to be able to have a cigarette.
“Generally speaking, I think we’re going to run into a lot of bad attitudes when we pull people over for that. It’s going to become almost a human-rights issue for them.”
This article was posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2009 at 10:06 am