Group calls for smok­ing ban

City to poll res­i­dents on use of cig­a­rettes, e-cig­a­rettes and mar­i­juana in pub­lic places

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - FRONT PAGE - JA­SON KERR @ker­r_­jas • ja­son.kerr@pa­her­ald.sk.ca

City coun­cil was asked Tues­day to con­sider ban­ning smok­ing on pub­lic land

Res­i­dents of Prince Al­bert will have a chance to weigh in as city coun­cil con­sid­ers cre­at­ing a smok­ing ban by­law within the com­mu­nity.

Dur­ing Tues­day’s ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ing, coun­cil ap­proved a mo­tion to sur­vey lo­cal res­i­dents about the is­sue, which could see forms of to­bacco like cig­a­rettes, e-cig­a­rettes, mar­i­juana and shisha banned from use in pub­lic places like parks, city build­ings, fes­ti­vals and sport­ing events.

City coun­cil­lors voted to ap­prove the mo­tion after a pre­sen­ta­tion from Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety in Saskatchewan spokesper­son Donna Pasiech­nik.

The pro­posal re­ceived strong sup­port from a num­ber of coun­cil­lors, who said Prince Al­bert was be­hind the times with their pub­lic smok­ing laws.

“I at­tend and vol­un­teer at a lot of sport­ing events in the com­mu­nity, and to have peo­ple smok­ing in the stands is just, in my opin­ion, wrong,” Ward 5 Coun. Den­nis Ogrod­nick said.

“I shouldn’t have to smell that smoke. There should be a spot pro­vided for peo­ple, if they want to smoke. Go over there and smoke your lungs out. That’s fine with me, but don’t sit next to me and dis­rupt my en­joy­ment.”

Ward 7 Coun. Den­nis Nowosel­sky added that smok­ing drains re­sources from the health­care sys­tem, and urged his fel­low coun­cil­lors to curb the ac­tiv­ity.

“Money is be­ing wasted and lives (and) years are be­ing lost,” Nowosel­sky said. “This is a no-brainer. We’re just light-years be­hind. Let’s get on it.”

While smok­ing cig­a­rettes is the main is­sue, mar­i­juana didn’t es­cape scru­tiny in coun­cil cham­bers.

With the fed­eral gov­ern­ment set to le­gal­ize mar­i­juana in the fu­ture, Pasiech­nik urged mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments to get ahead of the is­sue.

“Any­where smok­ing is banned or the use of to­bacco is banned, so should the use of mar­i­juana, re­gard­less of whether it’s medic­i­nal or not,” she told coun­cil.

“If you need your medicine, you can take your medicine, but not if your smok­ing of this prod­uct af­fects oth­ers.”

While not ev­ery coun­cil­lor of­fered an opin­ion on a po­ten­tial ban, all were in favour of polling Prince Al­bert res­i­dents.

Com­mu­nity Ser­vices di­rec­tor Jody Boulet said the sur­vey would be avail­able on­line and on pa­per for roughly a month. After­wards, city ad­min­is­tra­tors will comb through the data and present a re­port to coun­cil.

“This will give enough time for us to get the word out through our dif­fer­ent chan­nels, to make it avail­able through our dif­fer­ent net­works and to have those re­sults com­piled so we can re­port back in a timely man­ner,” he said.

The City of Prince Al­bert cur­rently op­er­ates un­der a by­law from 1993, which has some re­stric­tions in placed. Ac­cord­ing to Boulet, the re­stric­tions are not en­forced, but com­pli­ance is en­cour­aged.

Ac­cord­ing to an Ip­sos-Reid poll con­ducted in 2014, 77 per cent of Saskatchewan res­i­dents sup­ported a smok­ing ban on mu­nic­i­pal prop­erty used for pub­lic gath­er­ings. An­other 81 per cent sup­ported a ban at sports fields and 91 per cent sup­ported a ban on chil­dren’s play­grounds.

The Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety es­ti­mates that smok­ing adds roughly $168 mil­lion to health­care epx­ense in di­rect costs, as well as roughly $535 mil­lion in in­di­rect costs, like pro­duc­tiv­ity losses.

“Any­where smok­ing is banned or the use of to­bacco is banned, so should the use of mar­i­juana, re­gard­less of whether it’s medic­i­nal or not. If you need your medicine, you can take your medicine, but not if your smok­ing of this prod­uct af­fects oth­ers.” Donna Pasiech­nik, me­dia and gov­ern­ment re­la­tions, Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety in Saskatchewan

STOCK PHOTO FROM PIX­ELS.COM.

Prince Al­bert city coun­cil has in­structed city ad­min­is­tra­tors to send out a sur­vey ask­ing res­i­dents for their views on a pub­lic smok­ing ban. The ban would in­clude e-cig­a­rettes and mar­i­juana, once it be­comes le­gal to use.

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