The City of Richmond’s war on smoking continues, council passing new regulations further limiting the act in public spaces that came into effect at the beginning of the month.
Public Health Protection Bylaw No. 6989 states there will be no smoking (tobacco or cannabis products) or vaping (i.e. e-cigarettes) at public parks and school grounds, encompassing beaches, trails, playgrounds, playing fields, golf courses and more. The bylaw also pertains to city properties like recreation centres, the library, and city hall plaza. Contravention will result in a $150 for a first offence, $500 for the second and $1,000 for the third and beyond.
In addition to the above, smokers could previously partake three metres from transit shelters and six metres from entranceways, windows patios and air intakes— the distance is now extended to nine metres for all such areas.
The city says the changes support current recommendations of health authorities — for example Vancouver Coastal Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the British Columbia Lung Association — to improve the current level of public health protection in the community. It adds tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the province, with no amount of second-hand smoke exposure safe, and that vapour products are included due to unregulated ingredients and their possessing a potential negative health impact.
An added bonus of the regulations increased protection from smoking-related fires, as over the last year improperly extinguished cigarette butts have been identified as a leading cause of fires in Richmond.
For more information, visit www.richmond.ca/cityhall/bylaws.