Continue toward a smoke-free outdoors
As a resident of Surrey, a city which has surpassed the province’s smoking restrictions, residents should know firsthand the benefits and the importance of smoke-free outdoor public spaces.
For National Non-Smoking Week, the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon, called on the B.C. government – and all political parties – to support smoke-free public outdoor spaces, including the patios of hospitality establishments, and where children play, such as parks, playgrounds and beaches.
Throughout National Non-Smoking Week, people on both sides of the fence have shared their views. Some feel it is their personal right to smoke where they want and that provincial regulations would be going too far. But the vast majority view smoking restrictions as an important public health measure to protect us all from involuntary exposure.
Debates aside, the facts reveal that tobacco use in our society is taking a staggering toll. Tobacco use remains the largest single preventable cause of death and disease in B.C., killing more than 6,000 British Columbians each year.
Currently, the provincial government is deferring to municipalities to decide whether or not to ban smoking in outdoor public places. However, at the 2012 Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in September, municipalities spoke loud and clear by asking the province to introduce province-wide restrictions.
National Non-Smoking Week has passed, but we should continue to keep the importance of smoke-free outdoor spaces in our minds. As the City of Surrey is a leader in smoking restrictions, my hope is to inspire residents to encourage their MLA, and the B.C. health minister, to follow the lead of 30 B.C. municipalities and four other provinces, and keep B.C. beautiful and smoke-free.