April 23, 2014 4:35 pm

Proposed Victoria smoking rules among strictest in Canada

A proposed Victoria B.C. bylaw would extend the no-smoking area around doors and windows to seven metres.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Pawel Dwulit

In Victoria, B.C., councillors are pushing for a new bylaw that would ban smoking in parks, playgrounds and public squares.

The proposal would also extend the no-smoking area around doors and windows to seven metres.

The proposed bylaw would make Victoria one of the strictest municipalities for smokers in the country.

Not everyone is on board.

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“I am not for it,” says Victoria councillor Ben Isitt. “I think this proposed bylaw goes way too far in terms [of] infringing on the civil liberties of people who are addicted to nicotine.”

But Isitt does agree that some regulations are warranted. “There could be some very modest expansion made to the bylaw, particularly at the playgrounds I think for an obvious one where we do want to protect children from potential harm from smoking.”

Dr. Murray Fyfe, a public health physician from Victoria, when asked about the law, said the effects of second-hand smoke on non-smokers are devastating.

“There is now clear mounting evidence about the impacts on diseases like heart disease, stroke, cancer phenomena and other infections.”

If the proposal did move forward, Victoria would join other Canadian municipalities that have restricted smoking in public areas.

Kingston, Ont. for example, prohibits smoking in areas such as parks, beaches,sports fields and outdoor community meeting areas.

Sudbury, Ont. took a similar approach in May 2013, when it prohibited smoking in public spaces such as trails, boardwalks, walkways and ski hills.

Hamilton, Ont. created a bylaw in 2012 making it illegal to smoke in specific areas like recreation centre property, arena and stadium property and skateboard parks.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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