Calgary councillors reject ban on smoking, vaping in parks and on pathways

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Smoking and vaping in Calgary parks and on pathways can continue after council voted down a proposal to ban them Tuesday night

Tuesday evening, city council voted 10-3 against a bylaw that would have  banned smoking and vaping in these areas.

The city’s administration proposed the changes following consultation with Calgarians over the past three years.

Special events like festivals would have been able to apply to have designated smoking areas.

As well, the bylaw would have allowed for designated smoking areas to be permanently installed in some parks.

GOES TOO FAR

On Tuesday morning at Bowness Park, prior to the vote, smoker Gregory Bradley said the proposed bylaw went too far.

“People should have the right to enjoy their cigarette if they want it,” said Bradley while finishing a cigarette before launching his kayak into the Bow River.

“I think if someone’s having a cigarette they should just give other people the space to keep the toxins away from them.”

Bradley is in the minority of people CTV found at Bowness Park. Even Bradley’s kayaking partner, Richard Wright — who was also smoking a cigarette at the time — thought a smoking ban was a good idea.

“Absolutely, if it gives people incentive to quit a horrible addiction, a thing that kills them, then go ahead,” said Wright, though he doubts a beefed up bylaw would have much impact.

“Really though, to give a fine to a smoker, what will that accomplish?”

Just over half of the park users CTV spoke with Tuesday said a smoking ban was a good idea, with most, like Shantha Mayne, citing reasons other than second hand smoke.

“I would ban smoking in parks because it’s not a good example for our children, for anybody,” said Mayne

“When we were younger, you would see all the ads and it was cool, and children would get influenced by that. We need to think of the younger generation and try not to do things like this.”

SOCIAL MODELLING

Les Hagan of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) agreed, saying a ban on smoking and vaping in city parks is more about social modelling than second-hand smoke.

“In fact, it can be just as influential as parental modeling. So the more kids see people smoking in public during their childhood, and the more smoking cues they receive, the more likely they are to become smokers themselves,” said Hagen.

“So by making public places smoke free, not only do we make these places a little more enjoyable for everyone, but we also protect kids from nicotine addiction and the consequences of tobacco use.”

Hagen said dozens of Alberta communities have already instituted similar bylaws. Red Deer passed its legislation a decade ago and since then, more than 20 other Alberta communities followed suit. The largest of those is the city of Edmonton, which has banned smoking and vaping in close to two-thirds of its park space.

The town of Banff is currently reviewing legislation that, if passed, will see a near complete ban on smoking tobacco or vaping in any public place in the mountain community.

Read full article here.

Kevin Green – CTV News – 2022-06-08.

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