Smoking is no longer permitted in Nanaimo parks, beaches, trails and other recreational facilities. City council members have adopted a smoking ban bylaw that expands the number of smoke free zones in the city.
The city surveyed people last summer to see how the public felt about banning smoking in parks and beaches.
A total of 608 responses were gathered and results indicated more than 75% of respondents supported a smoking ban within city parks and recreation properties.
The intent of the bylaw is to promote healthier lifestyles and increase the quality of the local environment, according city officials.
They said medical evidence linking smoking discount Kiss cigarettes to health issues is well-documented and smoking bans in public places are considered the most effective means of reducing exposure to secondhand smoke.
Nanaimo joins Vancouver, White Rock, Richmond, Whistler, West Vancouver and Kelowna in having bans on smoking in public spaces.
“We understand it is going to take some time for the public to get used to this new bylaw,” said Mayor John Ruttan. “City staff will be installing and updating signage within our parks over the next few months to help get the word out there.”
The bylaw won’t be immediately implemented as the city wants to educate the public about the new regulation.
Until full implementation, city staff will be advising visitors to parks and beaches about the ban. When the bylaw is enacted, the fine for smoking in a park will be $150.