Sunday, 23 December 2007

Sun & smokes

One of the Toronto Sun's numerous "firsts" in its first 36 years was the 1993 smoking ban throughout most of 333 King Street East.

The workplace ban was a first for the four major Toronto dailies and one of the first for businesses in Ontario. The decision attracted other media to the newsroom, including a TV crew looking for reaction.

Sun smokers were allowed 15-minute breaks and a designated smoke room was set up in a doored dining area in the ground floor cafeteria.

While a lot of employees begrudgingly accepted the ban, a few rebelled and puffed here and there on the sly until it became tiresome.

Several longtime newsroom smokers quit cold turkey rather than interrupt their work and retreat to the designated smoke room or stand outside.

It took a few weeks to get visitors to butt out, but the complete ban eventually worked, well in advance of municipal and provincial laws.

Who knew that 14 years later, smoking bans in the workplace, and just about everywhere else, would be the norm across North America?

There is no official count of the number of Sun smokers who became non-smokers because of the inconvenience of the ban.

And there is no way of knowing how many lungs were spared the ills of second hand smoke during those 14 smoke-free years.

But in 1993, it was the high-profile Toronto Sun that helped set the pace voluntarily in a city filled with smoky office buildings.

The 1993 ban came to mind Saturday while reading about Dave Thomas kicking his 34-year addiction with laser surgery.

The Toronto Sun photographer, who figures he has spent more than $70,000 on cigs since his first smoke, hasn't had a puff since Nov. 4.

His first person story will no doubt have frustrated smokers thinking about laser surgery.

Congrats, Dave. You will find crime fighting on the streets of Toronto so much easier.

1 comment:

  1. "The workplace ban was a first for Toronto media outlets and one of the first for businesses in Ontario."

    I'm not sure where you get that information. CP went non-smoking in January, 1988. I remember it well, because it was pretty traumatic for some deskers (luckily not me).