Bus drivers hope for smoking ban bylaw

Transit trio approach Vernon council with hopes of creating public anti-smoking bylaw

Vernon bus drivers want people to butt out.

A delegation representing the drivers appeared before Vernon council Tuesday to ask the city to create a bylaw similar to Lake Country, where smoking in any public space, park, common area, and within 7.5 metres of any transit stop, outdoor customer service area and a space measured on the ground for a point below any point of opening into any building, including doorway, open window or intake, is banned.

“We also suggest vaping, E-Cigs and marijuana, plus any other source of harmful smoke be included in the proposed bylaw,” said David Hancock with the First Transit Joint Health and Safety Committee which represents the bus drivers.

Said Jenna Sealey with the safety committee: “People should be free to enjoy community spaces and events without being exposed to harmful smoke and/or substances. Second hand Smoke is a Class A carcinogen. There is no safe level of exposure even in an outdoor setting. E-Cigs and vaping may be slightly less harmful, but they are not harmless.”

Doreen Stanton with the committee said Lake Country’s only costs associated with the bylaw were the hours writing the rules and signage. Lake Country, she said, has found, “no need for increased bylaw officers to implement the bylaw, as it is complaint-based.”

“Overall, they have found it to be very successful, quiet and self-driven,” said Stanton.

The committee’s Facebook page conducted a poll in which members were asked if they would support a smoking bylaw within the City of Vernon.

“The poll was in no way scientific or meant to be, it was simply done to gauge support,” said Sealey.

Close to 500 members responded, she said, with only 20 per cent voting against introducing a smoking bylaw.

Enforcement was mentioned as a concern.

“The thought of making it complaint-based puts the responsibility on the public to report offences, creating a joint effort with bylaw enforcement,” said Sealey. “Public education will also be important, with signage playing a large role in order to make the bylaw successful.”

The creation of a bylaw, said the trip, would be beneficial for “the health and welfare of the community as a whole.”

Council received the information and will discuss it at an upcoming regular meeting.

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