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No smoking in Lake Country public spaces starting January

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November 23, 2016 - 9:55 AM

Anyone in Lake Country thinking ahead to setting the goal to quit smoking in 2017 will get some help with their resolution from the new Smoking Regulation Bylaw 954, 2016 adopted by Council July 5, 2016, which comes into effect January 5, 2017.

“Smoking exposure is known to be a health hazard,” said Holly Flinkman, Human Resources and Safety Manager. “Secondhand smoke is a “class A” carcinogen – there is no safe level of exposure, even in the outdoor settings.”

While the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act sets a provincial baseline for protection from second-hand smoke, many local governments in BC have provided greater protection through smoke-free bylaws. According to the research compiled by Flinkman in a report to Council, there are over 40 municipalities in BC with smoking restrictions that go beyond the provincial regulations.

The provincial regulation sets a six-metre area around any doorway, air intake or open window to any public or work place in which no one can use tobacco or vapour products. This protects against emissions entering these places and protects people as they enter or exit. In addition, smoking is now prohibited in private vehicles with children under the age of 16.

Lake Country’s Smoking Regulation Bylaw prohibits smoking in any public space, at or within 7.5 metres of any park, transit stop, common area, outdoor customer service area, or within 7.5 metres measured on the ground from any point of opening into any building including any doorway, opening window or air intake. The only exception is the ceremonial use of tobacco in a traditional Aboriginal cultural ceremony.

“Smoke” or “Smoking” means to inhale, exhale, burn or carry a lighted cigarette, cigar, cigarillo, pipe, hookah pipe, electronic cigarette, or other smoking equipment, that burns or vaporizes, tobacco, marijuana or any other substance.

Benefits to being a smoke free community include:

  • Protects the health and safety of the community and those who live, work and play in Lake Country.
  • Supports local groups who use municipal facilities to promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Helps reduce the likelihood that youth will start smoking and supports current smokers who want to cut down or quit.
  • Lessens the environmental impact of toxic litter and risks to pets and wildlife.
  • Reduces the chance of fire.

Where smoking is prohibited under this bylaw, a sign should be posted at each entrance and on each exterior building wall; and in a location that is clearly visible from each table in an outdoor customer service area. Details of what signage should include are noted in the Bylaw.

86% of BC residents do not smoke, but tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in Canada. It kills approximately 6,000 British Columbians each year; and exposure to second-hand smoke causes at least 1,000 deaths per year in Canada from lung cancer and heart disease.

One of the most effective ways to keep children and youth from starting to smoke is to provide them with smoke- free environments where they live, play and go to school. Helpful tools for smokers who want to quit are available 24 hours a day through QuitNow Services and the BC Smoking Cessation Program.

The City of Kelowna implemented a Parks and Public Spaces Bylaw back in 2011 that prohibited smoking in all parks, including beaches, trails, playgrounds, sports fields and stadiums. Parks and beaches in West Kelowna and throughout the Regional District of the Central Okanagan are also smoke free.

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