Harry Kraemer, who owns Sparkles Cleaning Service, says he had just lit up a cigarette while parked in a Tim Hortons parking lot, when an overzealous member of the ‘smoke police’ – the Smoke-Free Ontario enforcement officers – handed him three tickets.
The agents claimed that Kraemer’s luxury vehicle was covered by the city’s strict anti-smoking laws which ban cigarette smoke in enclosed workplaces, among many other places.
Kraemer was fined more than $1,000 for smoking in an enclosed workplace, failing to have a no-smoking sign in his SUV, and failing to properly supervise a workplace, the National Post reports.
However, the 79-year-old, who has been smoking for the past 60 years, said the Porsche was his own vehicle and was never used as part of his cleaning business.
And when Kraemer took the case to the Provincial Offences Court last week, the judge agreed, overtunring all three of his tickets.
‘The justice of the peace said, ‘I haven’t heard one shred of evidence that that car was ever used for business for Sparkles,’ said Kraemer.
‘This is my personal car that I drive from home to work and from work to home.
‘Who would use a Porsche to do house cleaning with?’ he said. ‘If a Porsche pulled up to your house to clean your house, you would say, “What the hell is going on here?”‘
‘It’s just a waste of taxpayers’ money as far as I’m concerned,’ his lawyer added
Linda Stobo, program manager for the chronic disease prevention and tobacco control team at the Middlesex-London Health Unit, would not comment on Kraemer’s case.
But she did not believe that the investigators were wrong to have ticketed him.
‘The purpose of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act is to protect people from the harmful exposure to second-hand smoke at work,’ she said, adding that a vehicle can fall under the law if its used for any type of work.
But Kraemer believes he was unfairly targeted as part of an ongoing dispute with the anti-smoking officers.
‘I find some of the smoke police are overzealous. Very soon, they’ll keep coming and coming and coming at us and pretty soon we can’t have a smoke except in the middle of some farmer’s field.’
Last year, he was fined after an officer found an ash tray and cigarette butt in his private second floor office at the Sparkles building. He says he smokes with the door closed, window open and fan blowing.
But he was slapped with two tickets for workplace smoking which sparked a huge row.
‘I verbally told him to get the hell out of my office and I said some very nasty things maybe, I don’t know,’ said Kraemer after he was handed the ticket.
The officer, Kraemer said, told him, ‘We’ll be back.’
A year on, and an enforcement officer, working on what the claimed was an anonymous tip off, had approached him in his Porsche and handed him the ticket.
Ontario’s anti-smoking team investigated 100 complaints of inappropriate smoking last year.