No ifs, ands, or butts – smoking will not be allowed in City of Trail outdoor spaces come January.
That means no lighting up or vaping in all city parks, playgrounds, beaches, and trails. The new rules also apply to parades or other community events like Silver City Days. And, ashtrays at the front or side of the Trail Memorial Centre will be long gone – smokers must be at least six metres (20 feet) away from the front of the building.
“What is being brought forward is consistent with bylaws in place in a number of other communities,” city Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times. “This is all in aide of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke and hopefully will also lead to continued initiatives to reduce smoking in general.”
The Smoking Control Bylaw was up for three readings Monday night, and raising no alarms, the new rules will be in effect in early 2017 when council reconvenes and enacts the new regulations.
The move to ban tobacco and vapour products began nine months ago when Coun. Lisa Pasin brought up the topic at a March governance meeting. Since then staff has researched what other B.C. municipalities have been doing to reduce second hand smoke in pubic places, those regulations have culminated in Trail’s updated smoking control bylaw.
“Smoking is a choice just as much as not smoking is a choice,” says Coun. Pasin. “There is scientific data to show that the health complications of smoking are extensive and serious. This issue is not a fad or one to be taken lightly.”
Scientific evidence of health risks associated with smoking and second hand smoke exposure is well documented, she continued. “Our citizens should be able to visit public places and spaces and not be exposed to second hand smoke health risks, due to someone else’s life choices,” Pasin added. “Amending the smoking bylaw will be one step forward in making the City of Trail a healthier community to live in.”
Once the new regulations are officially adopted, the community-at-large may be curious how the rules will be enforced as a bylaw officer will not be patrolling parks, sports fields or public events in search of people smoking.
Instead, positive signage will come into play. More signs bestowing the benefits of a smoke-free space will be installed at trail heads, high-use facilities and other outdoor sports venues that are frequented by families and children.
“In terms of enforcement, while the bylaw will set standards expected to be observed in the public interest, it does not impose a duty on the city to enforce its provisions,” clarified Corporate Administrator Michelle McIsaac.
“Interior Health advises that the experience of most municipalities enacting smoke-free spaces bylaws is that an education-based approach, being to articulate the reasons for the prohibition and to raise awareness and expectations for adherence to the new community standard, negates the need for active enforcement (it is self-enforced by the public).”
“National Non-Smoking Week” is scheduled for the week of January 15 to 21, 2017 in the City of Trail.
“The bylaw’s introduction on Dec. 19 and subsequent adoption on Jan. 9 was planned to coincide with the national event in order to garner awareness,” added McIsaac.
Our city is not alone in moving forward with amendment to this bylaw, Pasin shared.
“Greening cities through energy use management and decreasing emissions, and promoting healthy environments, including providing sustainable agriculture and smoke free environments, are just some ways other municipalities are working toward healthier living for their community members.”