Montreal suburb seeks ban on smoking in all public spaces

The Town of Hampstead drafted a bylaw which would prohibit the use of tobacco products in public. March 7, 2018. Yannick Gadbois / Global News

The Town of Hampstead is looking to ban smoking in public after drafting a bylaw at a council meeting Monday night.

The bylaw would restrict smoking in public spaces such as parks, streets and sidewalks as well as municipal buildings, their adjacent properties and municipal vehicles.

READ MORE: North Vancouver City Council says no to blanket ban on smoking in public

According to a copy of the draft on the Town of Hampstead’s website, bylaw no. 1019 would seek fines between $100 and $300 for a first infraction, while a second infraction would cost between $200 and $600.

“Second-hand smoke is dangerous, especially for the elderly, people with lung diseases and children,” stated William Steinberg, mayor of Hampstead.

“That is why we are banning smoking in public in Hampstead. Once marijuana becomes legal, smoking it will also be banned in public spaces.”

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READ MORE: Anti-tobacco advocates fuming over results of second-hand smoke study

Steinberg says the rule protects people’s health and sets a strong anti-smoking message.

“Yes, it coincides with the impending legalization of marijuana in Canada for this summer,” he told Global News.

“We’re seeing less and less adults smoking cigarettes, we’re trying to discourage children from seeing adult smokers.”

He says the community of about 7,000 residents has no businesses or offices and that people can smoke on their own properties.

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Steinberg pointed out the bylaw would not prohibit e-cigarettes and vaping.

But a spokesman for a non-smokers’ rights group believes the regulation will do more harm than good.

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READ MORE: Quebec to ban smoking in prisons; ‘added tensions’ expected

Francois Damphousse says the law will force more people to smoke indoors, which is much more damaging to the health of those around them.

If passed, the bylaw could be the most restrictive anti-smoking measure in Canada.

The mayor says the ban could be in effect by the end of April.

— with files from The Canadian Press

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