Global environmental challenges
Fewer cigarettes get lit indoors in bars and restaurants because of smoking bans from California to Ireland but something else is going up in smoke from a sidewalk in central Oslo – about $100,000 a year in extra outdoor heating bills.
The heated pavement, installed at a cost of about $400,000, may be the most extreme example of an environmental side-effect of smoking bans: rocketing power use.
“It’s warm out here even when it’s snowing and minus 10 (14 Fahrenheit) on the worst winter day,” said N. Virani, managing director of the Mona Lisa restaurant, which includes an outdoor section named after former health Minister Dagfinn Hoybraten who introduced the smoking ban in 2004.
Virani said he believed it was the only heated sidewalk in Scandinavia. And it’s true — today at a chilly 10 Celsius (50F) outdoors it felt like sitting at a warm outdoor cafe by the Mediterranean.