November 23, 2015 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS – Kamloops residents could soon be breathing easier as the city is exploring the option of going smoke free.
City staff will present a report to council tomorrow, Nov. 24, recommending the city amend its current bylaw to prohibit smoking and vaping with e-cigarettes in all parks and civic properties.
The same day, Jennifer Harbaruk of the Canadian Cancer Society will be advocating for a similar ban.
The smoking ban was originally discussed by councillors in July of this year but was tabled to give staff time to collect information. Council wanted more information about enforcement and how similar bans have worked in other communities.
Staff report there are 56 other communities in B.C. which have prohibited outdoor smoking. According to their research, rates of compliance have grown over the last several years when accompanied by strong education and awareness programs.
The report recommends the city focus on public education and limit enforcement to regular park patrols. Fines for non-compliance ranged from $100 to $150 in the cities they looked at.
The Cancer Society's Harbaruk says she will talk about whether smoking should be banned in every city park or merely key ones, and whether a designated smoking area will be just as effective. Staff did not recommend implementing smoking areas as other cities, like Kelowna, had said they were rarely used.
This is not the first time council has wrestled with the issue of public smoking.
They had the same debate in January of 2014. The sentiment on council was mixed with some agreeing with a city-wide ban on smoking while others pointed out smokers were also property taxpayers.
If council authorizes a new anti-smoking bylaw, it could be implemented as early as April 2016.
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