A further crackdown on smokers has the support of Vernon’s top politician.
University of B.C. nursing students and the Canadian Cancer Society have asked the city to ban tobacco use on trails, parks, beaches and outdoor recreation facilities.
“From a personal view, I hate it when someone is ruining my space with their smoke,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky, a retired doctor who is concerned about the health risks associated with second-hand smoke.
“Society is clearly moving that way. France, the oasis of smoking, has banned smoking in public places.”
Council will consider the proposed ban at its Dec. 10 meeting.
“Smoking can cause many chronic illnesses,” said Ashley Dixon, a fourth-year nursing student at UBC.
She says that 1,000 Canadians a year who don’t smoke die from tobacco-related disease.
“There is no safe exposure level,” she said, adding that the impact can translate into cancer, respiratory issues or heart disease.
Statistics presented by the nurses indicate that smoking-related health issues, including health care, cost the B.C. economy $2.3 billion a year.
There is also a concern that discarded cigarette butts can increase the risk of wildfire and they create a litter problem,
Dixon believes legislation reduces exposure to second-hand smoke and encourages people to quit smoking. “Bylaws do work,” she said.