There isn’t much to be said in defence of smoking.
In addition to the increased health risks for the smoker and for those exposed to second-hand smoke, there is also a risk of fires from carelessly discarded cigarettes and the problem of unsightly butts littering parks and beaches.
The fire hazard was one of the factors prompting Coun. Erin Trainer to ask for the development of a bylaw banning smoking on all municipal property.
Such a bylaw would make all Summerland parks and beaches into smoke-free zones.
Some of the province’s worst wildfires have been caused by carelessly discarded cigarettes.
This year, with the dry conditions throughout the province, the fire risk alone must be addressed.
Those who want to enjoy time outside at the beach or in local parks would have a smoke-free environment to enjoy their time outside. For those with asthma, breathing-related problems or weakened immune systems, this would be a noticeable benefit.
Smokers, however, would face increased restrictions as a result of a no smoking bylaw.
Cigarettes and other tobacco products are legally sold in Canada, but restrictions have increased in recent decades. Most offices and many businesses are smoke-free, as are eating and drinking establishments.
Smoking rates across Canada have been declining and British Columbia has the lowest percentage of smokers in the country. Still, there are more than 600,000 smokers in B.C.
Expanding the list of the places where smoking is banned will serve to aggravate smokers and some may choose to disregard a proposed no smoking bylaw.
Enforcing a comprehensive no smoking bylaw, especially one which governs outdoor spaces, may prove difficult.
Unless the proposed no smoking bylaw can be enforced, its potential for effectiveness will be diminished.