Smoking of any kind will no longer be allowed in public spaces in Fort McMurray.
The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo passed a new bylaw on Monday to ban all forms of smoking — including tobacco — and vaping in all public places ahead of the legalization of marijuana in October.
Starting Tuesday, the bylaw prohibits the smoking and vaping of any substance in all areas the public has access to, including parks and public events.
“This bylaw will protect children and youth from exposure to harmful drug use in public places and it will help to keep kids drug-free for life,” said Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking & Health.
“Healthy modelling helps to create healthy kids. Wood Buffalo has set an example for other municipalities to follow prior to cannabis legalization. We hope that many others will follow suit.”
Last month in Wood Buffalo, a coalition of provincial health and recreation organizations declared the municipality a “smoke-free community” in preparation of the new bylaw.
“Wood Buffalo is now leading the charge among Alberta municipalities that are planning to address cannabis consumption prior to its legalization,” Hagen said.
“The bylaw is a simple and effective regulation that will protect kids while allowing people to smoke and vape on private property.
“A comprehensive public ban on smoking and vaping is needed to provide effective protection for children and youth.”
The City of Edmonton has proposed restrictions on consuming cannabis in public, but not a ban.
Members of Edmonton city council’s community services committee adopted a 10-metre buffer zone from entrance ways to buildings, so many areas of sidewalks will be off limits to smoking cannabis.
In parks that cater to kids, the suggested buffer zone will be 30 metres.
Hagen argued for a 50-metre buffer zone at playgrounds and sports fields.
Council was expected to vote on the proposed bylaw in July.