Winnipeg soccer leagues want to ban smoking within 50 metres of games
WINNIPEG (CP) — Winnipeg soccer fields will soon be added to the growing list of areas where, even in the great outdoors, smokers are forbidden to light up.
The Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association wants to ban smoking within 50 metres of any youth game following complaints from referees and parents that the air is being fouled by sideline smokers.
“There were a couple of incidents last year where a referee had to stop a game because somebody had lit up ... right on the sideline and it was wafting onto the field,” association president Alastair Gillespie said Monday. “We’re doing this for the protection of the kids.”
The group is consulting a lawyer and talking with city hall to ensure it has the legal authority to ban smoking on municipal fields during its games, and hopes to implement the rule this spring.
Smokers may be getting used to this kind of treatment. It is growing across the country.
Toronto started banning smoking near all playgrounds and wading pools last year. The Nova Scotia community of Truro bans outdoor smoking along a popular downtown shopping strip. The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, held outside in the city each summer, has a no-smoking area that covers half of the seating area in front of its outdoor main stage.
It’s getting virtually impossible to find a place to light up, according to one smoker’s rights group.
“ This is just insanity. People have gone completely insane,” said Arminda Mota, president of My Choice. My Choice was set up several years ago with funding from tobacco manufacturers, although Mota says the group no longer receives money from the industry.
“ What (anti-smoking advocates) want is to criminalize smokers, and they want children not to see any smokers anywhere.”
Idling cars and trucks are more of a health threat in the outdoors than second-hand smoke, Mota argued.
But anti-smoking advocates disagree. They point to a 2005 University of Maryland study that found levels of second-hand smoke outdoors did not dissipate to low levels until travelling seven metres or more, and that distance increased if there were multiple smokers standing together.
Gillespie is hopeful most soccer moms and dads will support the smoking ban.