tobacco control in other local cities

Last week, a meeting was held with health advocates and officials from throughout the Lower Mainland and around the province. The following are notes I made during the meeting.

• The City of Vancouver might consider a patio ban this coming spring.

• Whistler is looking to outdoor smoking bans – currently at council briefing level. There is already no smoking permitted anywhere on the mountain.

• Abbotsford Parks & Rec Commission has recommended entrance bans for recreation facilities.

• A Capital Region District committee already working on smoke-free patios. They are reviewing the consultation process on the issue. There is worry that this review might be a delaying tactic. They are now looking for three public hearings in different areas rather than just the one originally planned.

• In Quesnel, there is an Interior/Kootney coalition of cities and health agencies working towards outdoor smoking bans. Quesnel has a health committee. Smoking issues were brought to council from that committee.

• Surrey is looking to create ‘family friendly’ zones at rec facilities. Smoking is one activity which would be deemed not-in-keeping with a family environment.

• Richmond Council has asked for a report on smoking free patios, entryways, and other outdoor areas.

• Fraser Health Authority is bringing forward a policy on smoking to their executive in late December.

• There is an Ottawa study which shows just as much smoke on patios as indoors – it does not dissipate as quickly or easily as commonly believed.

• There is interesting and possibly helpful advice on the “Social Marketing” website under the title “fostering sustainable behaviour”.

• Most provinces have ‘zero display’ rules for tobacco sales.

• Opposite the persistent myth, smoking rates are actually increasing among young adults in BC, not decreasing.

• Creating tobacco-free Sport Zones might be the most effective way to restrict smoking in parks.

• Preventing “infiltration of smoke into indoor spaces” might be the best approach for restricting smoking outside of public buildings.

• When indoor smoking was given a transition period in Vancouver, it served only as a delay tactic by the industry.

• Vancouver Coastal Health Authority drafted a report on smoke-free spaces for Vancouver. VCH has a contract with Vancouver to advise on bylaw changes for health.

Some of my comments were that, in order for any proposed outdoor smoking restrictions to be respected, there must be greater awareness on the nature of smoke outdoors. Since people already understand the health impacts and have become less tolerant of indoor smoke, there would likely already be support for efforts to prevent smoke from getting indoors.

Also, whenever there is talk of outdoor smoking, it seems to gravitate towards restaurant patios. But focusing on patios just makes enemies. Working on other areas would likely be more constructive and productive. Patios should be revisited in the future following success in other spaces.



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