Regina considers smoke-free patios and some outdoor spaces

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WATCH ABOVE: The heavily-debated topic over whether smoking should be allowed in public spaces is back. The city says they will now be considering a ban on smoking in certain areas; that’s if the public wants it. Christa Dao reports – Dec 20, 2016

Smoking and vaping on outdoor patios and public spaces may be a thing of the past if the public wants it.

On Monday, city councillors voted in favour of public consultations. The city will be asking residents if they would be in favour of a smoking or vaping ban in certain areas, like outdoor patios or public parks.

READ MORE: Regina city council wants your thoughts on banning smoking in certain public places

“Community standards are changing. People expect to see and would want to see restrictions on smoking on [patios],” Mayor Michael Fougere said Monday.

Ward 3 Councillor Andrew Stevens said despite his indifference to the status quo, he said he’s in favour of a change, if that’s what residents want.

“Personally, I’m kind of indifferent to it. Already, you have an open air patio, people are smoking and it’s not in a closed-air environment, it wasn’t a big deal to me,” he said.

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“What I like about this motion is that it seeks public consultation. It wasn’t about my opinion. It was actually about what do the people want to see and what are the health impacts,” Stevens said.

According to Canadian Cancer Society spokesperson Donna Pasiechnick, the impact of second-hand smoke should be reason enough.

“Depending on the number of smokers, the area, the wind velocity, it can be problematic and it can be a health hazard,” Pasiechnick said.

Pasiechnick said it is crucial that government restricts smoking in places where people congregate.

“Outdoor patios, those are workplaces for many people. Those workers deserve the same protection as workers indoors. Parks and playgrounds – we’re trying to provide positive role modeling for kids. So we don’t want them to be exposed to second-hand smoke,” she said.

Snapshot of major cities banning smoking on outdoor patios. File / Global News

Among major cities, only Regina and Winnipeg still allow smoking on outdoor patios. Saskatoon has been smoke-free on patios since 2004.

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“I think we can learn from those communities and ensure we have the most comprehensive bylaw we can have,” Pasiechnick said.

Beer Bros. had implemented their own ban on patio smoking nine years ago. Partner Greg Hanwell said it’s time the rest of the city caught up.

“I don’t understand the point of consultations. Smoking has been largely de-normalized. Just go ahead and do it. It’s past time,” Hanwell said.

Public consultations will begin in 2017, with a report due by April.

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