Roughly 85 per cent of British Columbians do not smoke cigarettes and the minority who do are running out of places to do it.
Ucluelet has thrown its support behind the Canadian Cancer Society’s push for a province-wide smoking prohibition in public areas like parks, playgrounds and beaches.
In a letter reviewed by Ucluelet’s council during Oct. 25’s regular meeting, the Society commended council for adopting a bylaw earlier this year that prohibits smoking in public places, including parks and beaches, and within eight metres—vertically and horizontally—of any doors, windows or patios.
Ucluelet is one of 68 B.C. communities that have anti-smoking bylaws and the Canadian Cancer Society wants to see the rest of the province get on board.
“Outside of your community’s boundaries, more than 1 million British Columbians in 125 communities do not have bylaws that prohibit smoking in outdoor public places,” the letter states. “This exposure differential contributes to both health inequities and a larger provincial economic burden. In B.C., the annual economic burden attributed to tobacco is $2 billion.”
The Society suggests smoking prohibitions cut down on second-hand smoke exposure, serve as deterrents for young people to start smoking and motivate current smokers to quit.
“People who smoke tend to respond to restrictions by cutting back or quitting,” according to the Society.
While agreeing to support the province-wide push, Ucluelet’s council also agreed to look into ways of making the local laws more obvious.
Coun. Mayco Noel suggested signage is needed to let smokers know where they can and can’t light up.
“There’s a couple things we’re not doing, probably, in some of our public places,” he said. “There’s not really any signage.”
Coun. Sally Mole agreed and cited Ucluelet’s skate park as an area where smokers are either unaware of, or ignoring, the prohibition.
“That one really bugs me,” she said.
Council agreed to discuss increased signage during its ongoing budget discussions.