Mayor Corrie DiManno said the ‘gold standard approach’ will lead the way in promoting a healthier lifestyle
Residents and visitors to Banff will have to get out in the new year after an ordinance banning smoke and vapor in the vast majority of the town’s outdoor spaces goes into effect.
Beginning February 1, 2023, smoking and vaping of tobacco and nicotine products will be illegal throughout Banff in parks and green spaces, on trails and paths, at outdoor markets and outdoor events, at bus stops, on all public sidewalks and pedestrian zones, and in the vicinity of a child under the age of 10 who is not in one’s supervision, care or control.
The few exceptions are for the ceremonial use of tobacco related to a traditional indigenous practice or in surface parking lots and alleys, as well as on private property. In those cases, existing municipal and provincial legislation – that smoking and vaping may not take place within five meters of pavements, paths, doors, windows or air intakes – still applies.
Those who violate the ordinance can be fined between $250 and $500.
The Council approved the second and third readings of the ordinance at its Monday meeting, with Mayor Corrie DiManno, Councilors Chip Olver, Grant Canning, Barb Pelham and Ted Christensen in favor. Shovel. Hugh Pettigrew was opposed.
Also approved was a $2,400 budget for communications and signage to be installed before the ordinance goes into effect.
The ordinance, which was first introduced in September but has been discussed in council chambers since as early as 2018, is consistent with the town’s marijuana use ordinance, which was approved before federal legalization in October 2018.
Present at Monday’s meeting was Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH). Hagen praised the council for its efforts and said the passage of the ordinance will have a lasting and far-reaching effect.
“Your actions today will go far beyond this community,” he said. “Banff welcomes more than four million visitors each year and is the most popular national park in Canada. By approving this ordinance, you will reinforce that no-smoking norm among millions of visitors, including multitudes of children and youth. You will send a message that public health and recreation go hand in hand with many, many people.”
Hagen said being good role models for children and youth and preventing wildfires are especially important issues to consider when it comes to such legislation.
No ‘Rocky Mountain high:’ Banff bans smoking, vaping marijuana in public places
Banff is mulling the idea of permanent pedestrian zone on main strip
Parks Canada begins fire watch project between Banff and Lake Louise
Premier Smith hints at ‘potential’ of hydrogen-powered passenger train to Banff
“The social model of smoking and vaping can have a major impact on children and youth. . . The more smoking cues a child receives, the more likely they are to become smokers themselves,” he said.
“Smoking in parks is a significant public health concern, but cigarette butts are the single most littered item on the planet. Careless smoking is responsible for 10 to 15 percent of all wildfires in Canada.”
DiManno said that by taking the “gold standard approach,” the city of Banff will be leading the way in promoting healthier lifestyles.
“It’s also about setting the tone that when you’re in Banff, we’re a community and we value our clean mountain air and we respect public places and our environment,” she said.
“I believe this will help contribute to the reduction in exposure to second-hand smoke, reduction in litter, and reduce the risk of starting a wildfire. . . That’s probably the future, and Banff likes to be ahead of the curve,” she said.
“It’s going to come with some polarization and opposition, but at the end of the day it’s about trying to be leaders in this area.”
A dozen other municipalities across Alberta have taken similar steps to reduce the number of places where smoking and vaping of nicotine and tobacco are allowed, including Claresholm, Okotoks, Strathmore and High River.