Weeks after the city of Montreal's restrictions on residential fireplaces and stoves came into effect, politicians are now thinking about banning wood-fired restaurant ovens.

Politicians say it's a question of public health over bagels and charcoal chicken, and say they might ban wood-fired ovens by 2019.

Smoke and soot contribute to smog, and it's only during the winter months that smog warnings are issued for Montreal.

The odour of charcoal cooking, however, generates complaints as well.

“We are looking if it's possible to change the stove and they use the gas or another option,” said Jean-Francois Parenteau of Montreal’s executive committee. The city has already urged restaurants to install filtration systems to trap soot and particulate matter.

Robert Moreno of St. Viateur Bagels said the restaurants and bakeries in the chain have already installed filters.

"We want to catch as many fine particles before it goes into the environment. As the smoke is being burnt we accumulate it, we filter it, and then we send it out of our chimney stack, and in doing so we reduce the emissions. The city has a norm, and we're below that norm," said Moreno.

Drop in bad air quality since 2015

Transportation--mostly the dust worn off brake pads--is the leading cause of fine particulate matter in the environment, closely followed by smoke from fireplaces.

The city of Montreal's most recent air quality report shows that monitoring stations near areas with heavy traffic, such as the Decarie Interchange or the Port of Montreal, have the greatest number of poor air quality days, as do two stations located near Laval -- where there is no ban on fireplaces.

However the 2017 report does not include a breakdown of data from the three monitoring stations closest to the Turcot Interchange construction project.

A city of Montreal bylaw in effect since Oct. 1 bans open fireplaces and limits the amount of particulate matter emanating from wood stoves to no more than 2.5 grams per hour.

In addition the use of wood stoves is completely banned if a smog warning is in place except during a lengthy power failure, and every homeowner must register their fireplace with the city.

The 2014 report into Montreal air quality showed a pizzeria near air quality monitoring Station 13 was responsible for 39 of Montreal's 63 poor air quality days.

When that station was moved the number of poor air quality days in Montreal dropped considerably, from 64 in 2015 to 29 in 2016.

In 2017 there were 34 poor air quality days, all caused by fine particles during days with little wind, and all during the colder months (January to April, and September to December).