Port Coquitlam Strengthens Smoking Bylaws

PORT COQUITLAM, BC – Jan. 27, 2021 … Port Coquitlam is strengthening its regulations to better protect both adults and children from second-hand smoke indoors, on the street and in vehicles.

Yesterday, Council gave first three readings to amendments to the City’s Smoking Control Bylaw that will reduce public exposure to second-hand smoke – a known cancer risk – within 7.5 metres (about 25 feet) of crosswalks, inside or within 7.5 metres of businesses or any building accessed by the public, in more public spaces, and in vehicles used as taxis, ride-hailing services or to transport minors.

The bylaw will come to Council for final adoption in February after receiving approval from the B.C. Ministry of Health.

“We’ve heard from many residents that smoking is a barrier for them enjoying our downtown with their families,” said Mayor Brad West. “We’re taking action by strengthening our bylaws and giving our bylaw officers and the RCMP more tools to protect our residents – and particularly children – from second-hand smoke.”

Port Coquitlam adopted the current smoking bylaw in 2018, when it introduced regulations to ban smoking and vaping in parks, trails and fields, within 7.5 metres of bus stops and government-owned buildings, on City streets during public outdoor events, and in churches, halls and other buildings where people gather.

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 proposed amendments would strengthen the bylaw by also banning smoking or vaping:

  • Inside or within 7.5 metres of any entrance, window or air intake of buildings accessed by the public (not including private homes or strata buildings),
  • Within 7.5 metres of crosswalks (which includes street corners, where smokers tend to gather),
  • In any public space that has a no-smoking sign, and
  • In taxis or vehicles used as ride-hailing services or to transport minors.

To reduce the fire hazard associated with discarded cigarette butts, the updated bylaw will also specifically require smokers to safely put out and dispose of their cigarette (or stop vaping) when requested to do so by a bylaw officer who has identified a bylaw violation.  

Other planned enforcement enhancements include:

  • Increasing fines for tickets from $75 to $250 ($50 to $200 if paid within 14 days),
  • Permitting bylaw officers to enter any building or property covered by the bylaw, and
  • Specifying that RCMP officers may enforce the vehicle and other provisions in the bylaw.

“We know our local businesses care deeply about our community and we’ll be looking for their help to keep our residents – and their customers – safe from second-hand smoke, said Councillor Dean Washington, the Council Designate for the downtown.”

The City will be working with local businesses and the Port Coquitlam Business Improvement Association to ensure local business owners are informed of the new regulations.

The current Smoking Control Bylaw 4037 is posted at portcoquitlam.ca/bylaws and will be updated after adoption.

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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