Smoking ban in public outdoor places for Castlegar?
A presentation to city council from the Kootenay Tobacco Free Coalition has left at least one councillor undecided on the merit of the coalition’s proposed bylaw outlawing smoking in outdoor public places such as plazas, trails, beaches, parks, recreation facilities and patios at restaurants/bars.
Councillor Dan Rye said he doesn’t yet have an opinion on the issue, either way.
“I think there can be arguments made on both sides,” Rye said. “Smokers have rights, too.
“To me, we can have all the bylaws in the world and all the rules in the world – but who is going to enforce them? I’d want to see a lot more information and evidence from communities who are doing this – ask them what the upsides are, how they are enforcing it, that kind of thing.”
The presentation calling for the ban on outdoor smoking in public places cited, as reasons for the legislation, a reduction in second-hand smoke, a disincentive to smoke, a reduction in toxic litter, and an overall healthier community.
“Tobacco use kills more than 6,000 British Columbians every year, and costs the B.C economy $2.3 billion annually,” said Trish Hill, who handles tobacco reduction work for the Interior Health Authority. “It’s also linked to 110 deaths among non-smokers each year.”
She said litter (butts, etc.) from smoking outnumbers other types of litter by as much as 300 per cent (three-quarters of a billion kilograms of cigarette butts are dumped worldwide each year), increases the risk of wildfires, endangers wildlife and our water systems because of the carcinogens trapped in filters … the list goes on.
Hill said many local communities have already passed similar bylaws, including Fruitvale, Nakusp, the RDCK, Whistler and Kelowna, and more than 1,100 U.S. cities have adopted bylaws banning smoking in public outdoor places.
She said there has been little push-back against the notion – most smokers comply, and peer enforcement seems adequate to managing the bylaw.
Rye said he would still like to hear from the communities who have such legislation, to discuss outcomes and best practices, before taking a stand on the matter.