The Town of Quispamsis is preparing to ban smoking on municipal property.
Starting April 1, all smoking and vaping will be banned from any grounds owned by the town.
That means no smoking on roads or sidewalks, or outside town-owned facilities like the qplex and the Quispamsis Memorial Arena.
The town has been working on the bylaw for two years, according to the town’s director of community services, Dana Purton Dickson.
“I’m sure there will be some residents, obviously, that aren’t pleased with this bylaw,” Purton Dickson said. “But we anticipate, again, due to the information that we have, the impacts on the health and wellness of our residents…that it will be minimal.”
It will mean a big change for smokers in the community, including students at Kennebecasis Valley High School. Students often use a walking path adjacent to school property as their smoking area.
Student Seth Doiron, a smoker for four years, said he has no plans to quit, even if the bylaw creates a logistical challenge.
“I think it’s kind of reasonable, even though I’m a smoker,” Doiron said. “But, in my opinion, I would think that we’d be allowed to vape on the roads or wherever. But I kind of understand it.”
“I know that everyone at KV (high school), the majority, they come outside and they do it,” said student and non-smoker MacKenzie Armstrong. “Now we have the whole thing we can’t (smoke) in the bathrooms. Maybe people will start doing that more and we’ll get in trouble that way.”
A similar bylaw in Halifax went into effect more than a year ago. Critics say it is rarely enforced and mostly ignored. That bylaw also included dozens of designated smoking areas.
However, there are no plans for designated smoking areas in Quispamsis.
Violators could be given a $125 ticket by Bylaw enforcement officers or the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force.
But Purton Dickson said the bylaw will be used primarily as an educational tool. She noted statistics from Health Canada which indicate 85% of Canadians do not smoke.
“The bylaw will impact few people, so we feel that – the majority of the time – officers will be able to focus on their priorities,” Purton Dickson said. “And this, again, is education and awareness.”
“This will either make us stop, or make us more willing to do it inside,” Armstrong said.