Port Coquitlam Adopts New Enhanced Smoking Restrictions

People who smoke or vape have fewer places to light up in Port Coquitlam, following the adoption this week of a new anti-smoking bylaw.

The new Smoking Control Bylaw, adopted Tuesday night, reflects the highest level of municipal anti-smoking restrictions in the Tri-Cities and surpasses provincial legislation.

“This new bylaw goes a long way to improving safety in our community, in terms of both personal health and reduced risk of outdoor fires,” Mayor Greg Moore said. “It’s an important issue and we’re happy to be taking this proactive step towards building a smoke-free community.”

The city took a close look last year at best practices in the region, province and beyond when researching a replacement for the smoking bylaw adopted in 2002.

Both health and fire safety were considered, given that discarded cigarettes are a common cause of outdoor fires. Last summer, the city temporarily banned smoking and propane barbecues in parks, trails and natural areas due to the heightened fire risk.

The new bylaw now restricts smoking and vaping:

  • Within 7.5 metres of city and provincial building entrances, air vents and windows;
  • Within 7.5 metres of both transit shelters and transit stops;
  • In parks, sports fields, sports venues and playgrounds, and on city trails;
  • In buildings where groups of people gather, such as a church, hall, bowling alley, school, library or museum; and
  • On city streets when used for public outdoor events.

Under the bylaw, “smoking” covers all cigarettes, cigars, pipes, e-cigarettes and other equipment used to smoke or burn tobacco, cannabis and other plant material.

The new rules take a step further than the BC Tobacco and Vapor Products Control Act, which already bans smoking:

  • Inside building, structures, vehicles accessed by the public or employees, or within six metres of their doors, windows or air intakes;
  • On school district and health region properties,
  • In taxis and vehicles for hire;
  • In the common areas of multi-family residential buildings or hotels; and
  • Within three metres of covered transit shelters.

The new bylaw means the only places to smoke in public now in Port Coquitlam are sidewalks, streets and parking lots, in areas that don’t contravene the bylaw. As well, large sections of the downtown will become smoke-free zones when streets are closed for public events such as the May Day Festival, PoCo Grand Prix and the Downtown Port Coquitlam Car Show.

The only two exemptions from the bylaw are ceremonial use of tobacco by First Nations and smoking by an actor in a theatrical production.

“Our residents – and importantly, children – will now be able to visit our parks, wait for a bus or attend a public event outside without the worry of being exposed to second-hand smoke,” said Glenn Pollock, who chairs the city’s Healthy Community committee. “People will be able to breathe easier throughout our community.”

Implementation of the bylaw will roll out this spring and include a public education campaign; new signs in and around popular parks, playgrounds and sports fields; and a bylaw amendment to update the associated fines.

The updated Smoking Control Bylaw 4037 can be found at www.portcoquitlam.ca/bylaws.

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Pardeep Purewal
Manager of Communications & Admin Services
City of Port Coquitlam
Tel 604.927.5335 Cel 604.218.0533
Email purewalp@portcoquitlam.ca