Building support for smoke-free outdoor public places
- Second-hand smoke hurts everyone and is more than a nuisance. It contains the same 4,000+ chemicals that are inhaled by a smoker, and at least 50 of which are known to cause cancer.
The BC government has banned smoking in all indoor public places and workplaces, substantially enclosed bus shelters, 3 meter buffer zones around entranceways, as well as motor vehicles when youth under 16 are present. They have not however enhanced the ban to include outdoor public places, such as parks, playgrounds, beaches and patios of restaurants and bars. This is unfortunate given the overwhelming body of evidence that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke, even outside.
- There is currently a lack of provincial leadership on banning smoking in public outdoor spaces. As a result, there is a patchwork of municipal bylaws that exceeds the provincial legislation by banning smoking in places like beaches, parks, playgrounds and outdoor sports venues.
- Although we would prefer that the provincial government implement province-wide legislation to address this issue, it's at the local level where regulations to protect the public from second-hand smoke in public places are evolving.The good news is that many municipalities are leading the way by amending their bylaws to provide stricter protections from second-hand smoke, by banning smoking on patios, parks, playgrounds, and beaches, and creating stronger buffer zones around entranceways, windows and air intakes.