Watch above: smokers in Martensville and Warman may have to butt out, outside
SASKATOON – Smokers will soon have new restrictions in two cities outside of Saskatoon where the communities are working together to regulate smoking outdoors.
The Saskatchewan government implemented the Tobacco Control Act in 2002 and updated it to include bans on smoking in enclosed public places, in cars with children under 16, around air intakes to public buildings and school grounds.
Municipalities have the option to implement their own bylaws beyond the minimum standard set by the province.
The cities of Warman and Martensville signed a memorandum of understanding on World No Tobacco Day, May 30, agreeing to work together to create a new bylaw which regulates smoking outdoors.
Chera Doell who opened the Greek Villa Restaurant and Lounge in Martensville nearly three years ago, said her customer base is established and she’s worried about the repercussions of the potential bylaw.
“About 80 per cent of our people are customers that smoke,” said Doell.
Doell expressed her concerns to Martensville Mayor Kent Muench when the two sides met last week.
“We’re hoping to build some kind of consensus with them about what they think would be the best option for them moving forward, knowing that in the end, we’re hoping to get to a smoke free patio,” said Muench.
Neither city has written the bylaw yet but both say banning smoking outdoors at city facilities, parks, playgrounds, sports fields and patios are all options being considered.
Saskatoon is the only community in Saskatchewan where people are not allowed to smoke on outdoor patios. The ban came into effect in 2004.
Saskatoon city councillor Darren Hill recalls the controversy.
“There were fears when that bylaw was implemented in Saskatoon years ago that a number of establishments would go out of business,” said Hill.
“The sky didn’t fall in. Businesses did not close as a result of no smoking.”
A recent report by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer says Saskatoon has the lowest rate of second hand smoke exposure in the country.
It’s a lead the growing communities are excited to follow – realizing though, residents may need a little convincing.
“Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Canada and so it’s just good for our community,” said Muench.
The bylaws will be implemented as early as 2015.