Advocates for a smoke-free British Columbia

Past issues campaigns

  • Purpose

    We launched a campaign in June 2014 to highlight the shortage of smoke-free housing options in apartments and condos in BC.

    We partnered with leaders in the multi-housing sector to educate landlords, property managers, strata corporations and developers on the benefits of making their buildings smoke-free. Visit here to read success stories of landlords and strata corporations that adopted no-smoking policies that banned smoking inside units and outside on balconies and patios.


    The campaign was such a success at highlighting the issue across BC, that we plan to make this an annual campaign, and launch nationally in 2015.

    Related Info

    Read the News Release launching Smoke-Free Housing Month.

    Visit the Smoke-Free Housing website for info and tools to make your building smoke-free.

    Read about Yaletown condo owners that went smoke-free.

    Read the CAC Position Statement on second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.

  • Purpose

    The Imagine! A Smoke-Free BC Campaign (Imagine Campaign) was launched in January 2008 by the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Lung Association, to make BC the leader in tobacco control in Canada.

    The Imagine campaign advocated on behalf of British Columbians for bold and cutting edge government action toward creating a smoke-free BC. The CAC identified specific tobacco use reduction and protection principles that would establish BC as a national leader in tobacco control, and significantly contribute to BC fulfilling its goal of being the healthiest jurisdiction ever to host an Olympic Games.

    To this end, the Imagine campaign engaged key stakeholders, organizations and individuals province-wide to join forces in support of the identified principles and to “Imagine” what BC would be like if these principles were adopted in BC.


    Over 500 individuals and over 25 organizations registered their support for the Imagine campaign and contributed to the realization of many of the 11 identified goals.

    The following two, which used to be in our list of campaign priorities, have been substantially achieved:

    1. Prohibit smoking in motor vehicles when a person under the age of 19 is present. The current laws in British Columbia prohibit smoking in motor vehicles when a person under the age of 16 is present. The Cities of Richmond and Surrey have further implemented a municipal bylaw that prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when a person under the age of 19 is present.
    2. Provide subsidized Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) and pharmacotherapy for BC smokers ready to quit. As of September 30, 2011, the Province of British Columbia has provided subsidized NRT and pharmacotherapies to BC residents. Read more.

    Related info

    Imagine Campaign Launch Report

    Imagine Campaign supporters

    Imagine report on campaign progress 

    Field report on CAC achievements

    Report on government support for smoking cessation therapies.

  • Purpose

    In 2006, The Heart and Stroke Foundation and the BC Lung Association, in partnership with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Northern Health Authority launched a campaign  “Take It Outside” to encourage parents and caregivers to make their homes and cars smoke-free.

    The purpose of the project was to raise awareness about the serious health risks associated with exposing infants and children to second-hand smoke, especially in confined spaces such as homes and cars. 

    While most workplaces and indoor public places are smoke-free, these laws fail to protect children in the two settings where they most commonly face exposure—homes and cars. Multiple studies show that kids, cars and cigarettes are a particularly dangerous combination, leading many scientists and policymakers to conclude that banning of smoking in cars is needed to protect children from harm.

    Second-hand smoke is more harmful to children than adults because their lungs are still developing and are more easily damaged.  And infants inhale more of the smoke than adults because they breathe faster.

    Further, smoking in a small space like a car is 23 times more toxic than in a house. Studies have shown that spending one hour in a smoker’s car is like smoking three cigarettes and opening a window may not protect children because it can change the airflow in the car causing the smoke to be blown directly back at them.


    In 2008, the BC government amended the British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act, (Smoking in motor vehicle prohibited, Section 231.1) - to protect children under the age of 16 from second-hand smoke in all motor vehicles.

    Related Info

  • Purpose

    CAC advocates for the ban of smoking images in youth accessible movies. Smoking images in movies have a strong effect on impressionable youth, who quite often see heroes and other role models who they would like to emulate. Very rarely are these smoking images negative as they don’t depict the health risks associated with it. Many of these images are present in blockbuster movies, which have wide movie theatre distribution. They receive even wider access through DVD release and on-line streaming.

    Most movies watched by BC youth are typical Hollywood fare. Without a worldwide movement, it is impractical for us in BC to demand that Hollywood movie makers eliminate positive images of smoking in movies. The most effective means to mitigate the effects of these images, is to restrict youth access to these movies through Consumer Protection BC – the organization that classifies films prior to their release in BC. Movies with tobacco imagery would be classified 18A* (adult), with the exception of movies that depict historical figures and unambiguous depictions of the dire health consequences of tobacco use.

    We can, however, have some effect on what happens in movies produced in BC. In an effort to demonstrate to BC filmmakers that smoking images in movies has a negative effect on the public health of British Columbians, we also recommend that youth related movies that include smoking images be ineligible for provincial film subsidies, with the exception of movies that depict historical figures and unambiguous depictions of the dire health consequences of tobacco use.

    * Anyone under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult.

    Related Info

    Read this excellent report on tobacco industry marketing strategies to target youth and how people are fighting back!

    Visit site at UCSF on advocating for eliminating tobacco use in movies.

    Read editorial report in British Medical Journal on who's responsible for protecting youth from smoking imagery in films.

  • Purpose

    Over the years we have commissioned annual report cards on tobacco control achievements in BC.  In the most recent 2012 report, to help the government focus in on areas we believe to be of greatest importance, we chose to assess BC’s progress in seven key areas. The Report Card provides a summary of progress made, identifies best practices, and compares achievements in BC with those of other Canadian jurisdictions.

    Our objective? The Province’s commitment to a more aggressive tobacco control strategy worthy of the government's Healthy Families agenda.


    We have given the Province an overall grade of C+ but we believe an A+ grade is in sight. Like any effective measurement tool, the report card acknowledges success and frames areas in need of attention.

    Seven key areas were graded:

    A-  tobacco use rates
    C   tobacco tax rates
    C+ smoking restrictions in outdoor public places
    B   smoking bans in vehicles with minors
    F   tobacco sales in pharmacies
    A   provision of subsidized smoking medications
    C-  measures to support the provision of smoke-free multi-unit residential dwellings.

    Related Info

    Click here to read the full Report Card

    Read report advocating for more government programs and free medications to help people quit.

  • Purpose

    The CAC launched an extensive, province-wide campaign to overturn the government's decision to allow Designated Smoking Rooms (DSRs) in restaurants and bars. Prior to the government’s 2008 decision that smoking would be banned in all public places with no allowances for DSRs, separately ventilated DSRs were promoted as an alternative to banning all indoor smoking in the hospitality industry. 

    The BC provincial government at the time imposed changes to the Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) Regulations, over the objections of the WCB, that permitted smoking in DSRs, and allowed workers in the hospitality industry only, to work in these smoking rooms for a period of time not to exceed 20% of their work shift.

    This was allowed despite the overwhelming evidence showing that even under the best-ventilated conditions, DSRs do not adequately protect the health of workers. Further, the science confirmed that there is no safe level of exposure to the toxins found in cigarette smoke.

    Quick Facts on Problems with DSRs:

    • DSRs do not adequately protect workers and the public. There is no ventilation system capable of removing all the toxins in the air to meet air quality standards.
    • DSRs create an uneven playing field. Some owners can afford to build them, while others cannot.
    • DSRs often fail to comply with municipal bylaw or provincial regulation operational requirements. The York Region in Ontario completed a major review of DSR airflow in 2003/2004 and 75% of DSRs inspected failed to maintain the basic requirements.
    • DSRs are difficult to monitor and enforce. The WCB admits the Liberal government’s amended regulation allowing hospitality workers to be exposed to second-hand smoke for a maximum of 20% of their shift is difficult to monitor and enforce.
    • Hospitality workers, many of whom are young and in entry-level jobs, may feel intimidated to refuse to work in DSRs, and thus compromise their health for fear of losing their job or having their hours reduced.
    • DSRs create the “slippery slope” effect. While the WCB Regulation was intended to complement municipal bylaws and not replace them, in reality, many municipalities with stronger bylaws were pressured to weaken their legislation to come in line with WCB Regulations.
    • Many municipalities, at the time when DSRs were allowed, weakened their bylaws to comply with the WCB Regulation by allowing DSRs and/or increasing the size of the allowable floor space for DSRs.


    The government implemented legislation in 2008 that banned smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, with no provisions for DSRs in the hospitality sector.

    Related Info

    Check out report by ventilation expert on major problems with ventilation as an alternative to 100% smoke-free workplaces.