Patios throughout Whistler
Village may soon be free of cigarette smoke, thanks to a drafted bylaw that is
currently circulating throughout municipal hall.
The so-called smoke-free
bylaw prohibits smoking on patios, at parks and playing fields, as well as
within six metres of all doors, windows, air intakes and customer service
Paul Martiquet, medical
health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, presented the bylaw to council on
Martiquet said that the City
of Vancouver already passed similar legislation this year, and he urged
councillors to do the same for Whistler.
“This is an outdoor
recreation capital, and we know that smoking on patios affects the patrons that
are also on the patios,” said Martiquet.
“I am asking you to go
further than Vancouver. I am also going to ask that playing fields and parks be
smoke-free in Whistler. And six meters from patios here in Whistler be
In response to the proposal,
Councillor Tim Wake said: “I fully support this. I think it is great. I think
Whistler could really take the lead.”
“Even the cafés in Paris,
France are outlawing smoking. If even the French can’t smoke, why should we be
The proposed smoke-free bylaw
would be an addition to the provincial-wide smoking ban that is already coming
into affect Mar. 31. This legislation bans smoking from public places, work
places and three metres from all entranceways, as well as severely limits the
advertisement and sale of tobacco products.
Mayor Ken Melamed said before
adopting the smoke free bylaw, the municipality would need to analyze how such
a bylaw would be enforced.
“In the past, enforcement has
been a concern and an obstacle for council in taking bylaw direction. Not in
every case, but it has been a concern,” said Melamed.
“It is something that is
regularly considered, but sometimes we adopt bylaws that we know we are going
to have a hard time enforcing. And sometimes we don’t.”
Melamed added that past
councils have debated and were very close to passing bylaws similar to what the
province is now enacting.
“I think there has been
positive support in the resort for leadership direction in healthy lifestyle.
And this is quite consistent with that direction… I think council is ready to
move in that direction.”
Martiquet’s presentation to
council was well-timed, with Canada’s national non smoking week running from
Jan. 20-28 this year.
According to Jacki
Bissillion, unit president for the Canadian Cancer Society, tobacco remains the
single most preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, and accounts for
30 per cent of all cancer deaths.
Bissillion went on to say
that studies have shown that smoking bylaws have no adverse effects on
“The positive impacts greatly
outweigh any negative impacts,” she said.
However, Joey Gibbons, owner
of four bars in Whistler, said the impacts of such a bylaw should be discussed
with local restaurants and bars before it is implemented.
“I don’t smoke, and I realize
how bad smoking is. But in the pub business, it is the norm to sell cigarettes
because there is a large population that smokes, and it is legal,” said
“I get worried a little bit
when the government gets involved with these things. When that guy from Germany
comes to order of packet, he isn’t going to think ‘Oh, the government’, he
thinks ‘What are these people doing sending me out in the cold six metres from
my patio, hiding behind the tree, smoking like I am a third rate citizen?’”
Gibbons added that the market
should decide whether smoke should be allowed on patios.
“If you’ve got smoking on the
patio, other people are going to see there are smokers on the patio, and they
may get offended to the point where nobody is on your patio anymore,” said
“We all get that (if we) ban
smoking we are all going to have a safer, better place. But we are also
inviting the world to come to our resort. And to send people out into the cold
to have a cigarette… I think we just have to think about it a bit.”