11 charged with smoking, vaping during Peterborough Musicfest: Health unit

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The city of Peterborough Smoking Bylaw prohibits smoking in any city park

Eleven people face charges for violating the city’s no-smoking bylaw in parks during Wednesday night’s Peterborough Musicfest at Del Crary Park.

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According to Peterborough Public Health, its tobacco enforcement officers (TEO) laid charges during inspections at the outdoor concert series. The alleged offences occurred in an area where smoking, vaping and cannabis use is prohibited.

The health unit says officers issued one charge for cannabis use, one for vaping and nine for smoking. The fine for smoking or vaping in a city park is $305.

The no-smoking bylaw covers 362 hectares of parkland including more than 100 city parks, playgrounds, beaches, splash-pads and sports fields.

WATCH (May 2019): 175,000 cigarette butts removed from Peterborough’s downtown core

Click to play video '175,000 cigarette butts removed from Peterborough’s downtown core' 175,000 cigarette butts removed from Peterborough’s downtown core
175,000 cigarette butts removed from Peterborough’s downtown core

“Many people believe that smoking outdoors is harmless, when in fact there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke,” stated Carolyn Doris, manager of the health unit’s family and community health programs. “Actively enforcing these laws will both protect people from toxic second-hand smoke and support a reduction in smoking rates.”

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Julie Ingram, manager of environmental health programs, says the city’s educational approach included spending the first six weeks of summer informing park users about the bylaw and health consequences.

“But some aren’t getting the message, or observing the signage in the parks,” she said. “We are confident that further promotion of healthy living and compliance with the smoking bylaw will result in fewer charges being laid.”

Peterborough has had smoke-free outdoor spaces since 2009, six years ahead of the provincial mandated Smoke-Free Ontario Act in 2015. Smoke, vape and cannabis free spaces were included in revised bylaws on July 9, 2018, the health unit says.

To report someone smoking, vaping or using cannabis within park boundaries are asked to phone TEO’s at 705-743-1000 or report the offence online.