When you plan to go to your weekend hangouts, at times you care much about entertainment offers and the friends you are likely to meet at the end of a-5 day routine business.
Others will tell you that safety of their car in the parking is the first thing they check before deciding their favorite place.
Well, a new element will soon oblige you to think twice even though all other details could be put together to make your week-end memorable – the smoking area of the place.
In the first place, you may need to know that, even if you don’t smoke, you could turn a second hand smoker, also called passive smoker while at the place, or if you actually smoke, you also need to know why you may need to step aside before exercising your right to smoke.
A law that was gazetted in April 2013 relating to the control of tobacco in Rwanda prohibits smoking in public places.
This provision defined public places as working places, markets, entertainment and sport facilities, schools and hospitals among others.
Of course the long list also includes hotels, bars and pubs, places which could be raising the main concern than the rest because they include people from diverse background and have quite a few restrictions.
This law directs to the owners of bars, hotels among other public places, to “request anyone who smokes in the public to stop smoking immediately and to indicate them the smoking area.”
The story of ‘smoking area’ in Kigali pubs, hotels and bars is quite interesting though.
Bar owners understand that, according to the adage that ‘A Client is A King’, it is indecent to ask a smoker to quit his/her comrades and go in a designated corner (if any) to exercise his right to smoke.
“Only a few people know about smoking law. Sometimes it’s difficult for us to push our clients out of the bar,” said Frank Ntirenganya who owns bar in Nyarutarama, Remera sector of Gasabo district.
“Most of our clients smoke as they drink. You are forced to respect them.”
At another bar-restaurant located at Kisimenti, the new home for famous pubs, it is 6pm. Clients start popping in for beers and food while others place orders for soft drinks.
The bar balcony is invaded by tobacco smoke swinging the space. But those who didn’t buy cigarette are passively smoking anywhere.
The only known as Rhoda told KT Press; “though I don’t smoke, I don’t have any problem with tobacco smoke. Much as we share beer, I remain with them as they smoke. It’s all about fun.”
Last week, the Ministry of Health issued a fresh warning against the practice of smoking in public.
“Smoking in public is prohibited by the law,” the communiqué reads in part.
“It has been noted that most of the Bars, Hotels and restaurants have not abided by the mentioned law. It is in this regard that the Ministry of Health reminds Hotels, Bars and Restaurant owners to abide by the law.”
Hotels, Bars and Restaurants were reminded to put visible warning signs of 50x50cm indicating areas reserved to smoking.
Some second hand smokers are scared by tobacco smoke, others are not, but, all in all, “Long term exposure to Second Hand Smoking (passive) can have also serious adverse health effects like heart disease and lung cancer,” according to Dr. Everest Ntaganda, specialist for Non Communicable Disease (NCD at Rwanda Biomedical Centre (RBC)