Kits smokers light up despite park ban

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The long weekend marked the start of the first summer of the smoking ban, enacted September 1, 2010. Under the bylaw, smoking is now prohibited on beaches and in parks throughout Vancouver and a minimum fine of $250 can be issued to those who break the rules. Despite this, 24H Vancouver reports that over the long weekend, smokers in Kits lit up anyway.  In fact, they openly defied the regulation.

While everyone agrees that smoking is unhealthy, even non smokers have come out against the park smoking ban. Some argue that while banning smoking in restaurants and other workplaces—places where non smokers and smokers coexist in a confined space—is a no brainer, banning smoking in a public outdoor space is too much.  Opponents of the ban see the bylaw another paternalistic overstep from an already restrictive government.

According to 24H Vancouver, only five tickets have been issued since September 1. Vancouver Park Board chair Aaron Jasper emphasized educating smokers over fining them.

If the occasional smoker wants to light up outside and the Park Board isn’t really ticketing, perhaps there are non governmental ways of negotiating the smoking in parks issue. What do you think? Does Kits Beach need a smoking ban bylaw?

Last modified: May 30, 2011

17 Responses to " Kits smokers light up despite park ban "

  1. Canoe says:

    As a smoker I appreciate that this article says some non-smokers even think it’s too much. It is way too much, and I have a solution.

    Take the money earmarked to spend on enforcement of the no smoking by law and install cigarette disposal units a.k.a. ash treys. Maybe some of the money could be acquired from the modest revenue smoking generates for the government.

    Once that is done give us smokers littering tickets if we flick the butt on the ground. Just as you would if someone threw a coffee cup on the ground. I’m all for a cleaner park with no chance of starting a forest fire :).

    I would use the ash trey every time and be happy not to see butts on the ground just like a non-smoker would be.

  2. Roman says:

    Doggonit, after blogging about dogs running around Kits beach without a leash in the leash-on areas, I guess I should now confess to not even noticing the no smoking signs until a few weeks ago. Until then, I would smoke my occasional cigar in the park while watching the sun set, hence unknowingly breaking this new by-law in the process. Fine, I won’t smoke in the park no more if dog owners keep their dogs on a leash in the leash-on areas. Either we all respect all the laws or work together to change them to respect all lifestyles. I recently read that oral sex was against the law in much of North American with a penalty of 15 years in some states. Glad the poleis changed that one.

  3. kitsgirl says:

    I am glad of the new law at the beaches and parks. It sucks to set up your things on the beach with a toddler, only to have a smoker set up right next to your family and the smoke always blows all over us! Second hand smoke is toxic to everyone, but is especially worse for little ones…..nobody likes to breath in poison if they can help it, but I can understand that the smokers are running out of places they are welcome. However, I will always put my family’s health first. No smoking please!!!

  4. Karla says:

    I think it’s silly. As a smoker, when I’m at a beach or a park, I put out my cigarette and place the butt back into my pack. It’s more sensible to educate people on that sort of thing.

    Also, I don’t smoke infront of kids because that’s just…not something you do. I still wouldn’t BAN people from smoking at a park, though.

  5. Sully says:

    As one of the thousands of people who use parksboard land and the seawall for exercise in high cardio capacities, there is nothing more offensive then to bike, run or skate by one or more smokers exhaling toxic fumes as my lungs and heart are pumping. Not sure if it should be a law or not but please use discretion (the walk and talk a long the seawall while smoking, kids around, volleyball courts, basketball courts, tennis courts, yoga groups, ultimate disc and group sports). If you do this for us we will be grateful.

  6. Dan says:

    Hey Canoe. I think you’ll find it’s a TRAY.
    Some people’s spelling is abnoxiouse (sic).

  7. Monica says:

    Here’s my experience as a mother of a 4 year old: Not once in all of the past 4 years have I gone to the beach on a summer weekend and been able to settle into one spot for any significant period of time. Invariably, a smoker shows up and we have to pack up and move.

    My little boy loves to dig in the sand. We don’t go to the beach to dig in the sand anymore, though, because of the plethora of cigarette butts awaiting him.

    For me and my son, smokers are a serious deterrent to going to the beach at all. Sorry to all the considerate smokers who try not to smoke around kids and who do take their cigarette butts with them but, if you smoke at the beach or a park of any sort, it’s very close to impossible to not be smoking around kids.

    I do struggle with the ‘rights’ aspect of the situation – honestly, I don’t want my wishes to burden others. But should smokers have the right to be a significant health hazard to those around them? Given how frequently my 4 year old son inhales second-hand smoke (no matter how briefly, before we get a chance to cross the street, or move our things away on the beach or in a park), I wonder how many cigarettes he’s already ‘smoked’?

  8. Mojo says:

    Last time I checked ‘recreational’ activities also includes smoking. It does for me anyhow. It seems with this ban that some groups have been given monopoly on defining what recreational practices these communal spaces should be used for.

    A park needs to be run by the community and that means cooperation and inclusion, not laws and exclusion. Rollerblades, Frisbees and yoga-pants may be as offensive to some as the whiff of cuban tobacco. The point being that it has to be solved in a polite and well behaved manner. There are rude smokers and rude bikers, but there are also considerate smokers, where’s their place now?

  9. Karinkits says:

    Roman: come on-basing your decision to comply with the law on what someone else does is the weakest cop out of all. Have values and a backbone-if everyone made decisions that way we will all be in prison and then Mr Harper would be right to spend our tax dollars on unnecessary prisons for unreported crimes.

    It isn’t only children that are affected by smoke, people with any chronic illness that affects breathing such as asthma and allergies are negatively impacted. However, I don’t agree with a total ban either-as much as I would very much love to go anywhere and not worry about smoke sending me into an asthma attack-we do need to take everyone into consideration. Since we have on leash/off leash dog areas why not have smoke/no smile areas. Then if you have health or other concerns you can stay in the park/beach area that is free of smoke?

    The idea that we have a very diverse society sharing a relatively small city means we have to find ways to be inclusive and please let us stop demonizing and blaming people.

  10. Karinkits says:

    Oh, auto correct smoke/no smoke and you changed the second smoke to smile. Thank-you for a Friday laugh. Although your pranks are getting old.

  11. Mike says:

    This ban is an absolute fantastic idea. As a family that uses the parks and beaches lots there is nothing worse than having to deal with people smoking around you.

    Smoking is your business so smoke at home. Don’t smoke in the air space that we share.

  12. Traysea says:

    The city morons have gone way too far with this no smoking outdoor ban. I am a smoker and I intend to openly defy this bylaw and I encourage every single smoker out there to defy it too. And if you get a ticket,fight it and the parks board staff will be so busy in court that the city will have to hire more staff to supervise the parks. That should make them realize that their ban is way out of line and people are not going to abide by it. We have to take a stance on certain issues and stand up for ourselves and our rights.

    Aaron Japser, the big goon leading the parks board members needs to educate himself on how not to be such an arrogant ass and he also needs to stop using the board for his own personal political motives. If you voted for vision last election, this is a great reason to note vote for them for the next election. And if you don’t vote at all, please get out there and vote for anyone but vision to get them off the board and hopefully out of city hall.

    But the main issue I have is this- As long as the government continues to make millions of dollars a year off the cigarettes smokers buy then I will smoke outside where I want and when I want. Its a big world out there and if people don’t want to be around my second hand smoke then they can move. There is more than enough space and air out there for everyone.

  13. Mathew says:

    I can’t stand smoking, in part because of the attitude of smokers like the previous commenter who said “if people don’t want to be around my second hand smoke then they can move”. I know that not all smokers are as inconsiderate as that, but when you walk along a sidewalk and see dozens of cigarette butts and wrappers, you have to wonder why so many smokers find littering acceptable.

    That said, it’s problematic for the Park Board to institute an unenforceable across-the-board ban. A more pragmatic solution is to designate certain parks as amoking-permitted, as well as a section of larger parks like Kits Beach. Where smoking is permitted, there should be metal disposal units for ashes and butts, and effective enforcement with small penalties for smoking in a non-smoking area and larger penalties for littering.

  14. Roman says:

    Hey Karinkits! My decision to comply is not tied to everyone else complying with all other laws. Even as an occasional cuban cigar smoker, I find it annoying when I get a whiff of someone else’s second hand smoke, especially cheap cigarette tobacco, when strolling or cycling through the park. While I don’t agree with those who see second hand smoke in open spaces as a health hazard (no more likely to give you lung cancer than a cell phone is likely to give you a brain tumour) , it can spoil a person’s enjoyment of the park/beach/seawall, which is a good enough reason to for me to stop smoking in these common areas. On the other hand, I expect many smokers will ignore the ban just as many dog owners ignore the leash-on areas. I think the good thing about this law is that it gives ammunition to non-smokers to ask smokers to butt out or go away. I think that’s fair enough.

  15. Sarah says:

    Much like anything else it won’t be long before everyone is complying with the bylaw. When smoking was first banned in bars it was like there was even a ban on with many people openly defying it. Now…maybe you see the odd smoker but more or less the situation has improved greatly. As Roman says, its about giving people the ammunition to ask people to butt out and making the people defying the bylaw ‘sneak’ around. After awhile they quickly (hopefully) realize that sneaking around in defiance of some bylaw just isn’t all that fun and they turn their outrage to the next thing.

  16. Resident says:

    Traysea, you are the source of the problem. You have the right to slowly kill yourself by smoking, but everyone else’s right to live a healthy smoke free life simply outweighs you right to be unhealthy. So go smoke in a confined and unventilated room. Or quit. Simple as that. And if smokers are dumb enough to keep buying cigarettes, then I fully support the government in taxing these to the nines. Something has to offset the cost to our healthcare system that gets clogged up by smokers, not to mention paying someone to clean up your butts all over the ground.
    Smokers are a minority in Vancouver, please explain why you think you should get all the patio space and beach space. Smokers disgust me, and I can’t wait until the day smoking is completely banned.

  17. pamela says:

    Reality check – 1 out of every 2 smokers will die of a smoke related illness. A smoker leaves toxic substances in the air for at least 30 seconds after he/she has exhaled that smoke. 2nd hand smoke is known to be very, very lethal to non-smokers. Still think you have the right to light up in public? Get ready for serious lawsuits for causing smoke related illnesses in non-smokers.