Miss604 Poll: Patio Smoking Ban in Vancouver

Comments 23 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Update: Vancouver City Council has just approved the tougher anti-smoking law. “The law bans smoking in taxis, bus shelters, on restaurant patios, and within 6 metres of any door, window or air intake on a public building” – News 1130

There was a comedian on Last Comic Standing a few weeks ago who was talking about people invaded the ‘public’. For example a guy talking loudly on a cell phone in a public place asking others to be quiet so he can hear the person on the other end – thus invading everyone’s ‘public’ with his ‘private’. I think the same concept applies. If I want to enjoy a meal on a patio in Vancouver I shouldn’t have to be lumped in with all the smokers, that just makes the air inside the restaurant nicer to breathe and defeats the entire purpose of the patio.

The recent recommendation of a staff report to Vancouver City Council suggests a ban on all restaurant patio smoking, but that’s not all.

The proposed by-law would also ban outdoor smoking near building entrances, air intake vents and windows. If approved, it could go into effect within six months. [News1130]

Photo credit: theunabonger on Flickr

In my patio guide I could only list Milestones and White Spot as 100% smoke free downtown (including patios).

Apparently Vancouver smokers have had a pretty easy go at it so far, John even noted when he moved here how much of a difference was made by what non-smoking bylaws we did have in place [audihertz].

  • “Consider the fate of die-hard smokers across the chilly expanses of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, who have been lighting up outdoors since May 1 [2004], when governments introduced territory-wide bans on smoking in public places.” [CMJA]
  • Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland all have a 100 per cent provincial ban on smoking in public places. [HealthCanada]
  • Non-smokers shouldn’t have to stand in the rain, while smokers light up inside bus shelters, says a North Vancouver councillor who is proposing a smoking ban at bus stops… …He said if his motion is approved by council, no-smoking signs would go up at the shelters, prohibiting people from smoking within a radius of up to five metres. [CBC] (Since this story the by law has been passed and enforced at all North Vancouver bus shelters)

Photo credit: sillygwailo on Flickr

Health Canada also has a Bronze/Silver/Gold rating for cities in BC based on their limited public smoking bylaws, designated smoking rooms and other restrictions.

New Westminster went from Bronze in 1997 to Gold in 2000. They then slipped to a Silver rating after allowing DSR’s in 2002. Surrey has a Silver rating, being smoke-free in bars and restaurants for the last 10 years. Vancouver is Silver as well, with DSR’s permitted but they cannot occupy more than 10% of the floor space. Richmond has been Gold since 2000, along with the Greater Victoria Area.

So what’s the verdict: Are we being mean to smokers by casting them outside or making them wait for a puff? Or does everyone have the right to smoke-free air in any public place, inside or out?

(Poll Closed)

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23 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Emm.Thursday, September 13th, 2007 — 5:00am PDT

    In Calgary, smoking was actually banned on all patios before it was even banned inside. It didn’t make much sense at the time, but recently it’s been banned everywhere, which has been a good thing for smokers and non-smokers alike.

  2. RaulThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 9:11am PDT

    Hello Rebecca,

    Here’s the environmentalist in me coming out 🙂

    Smoking has externality effects (e.g. negative unintended consequences on third parties). I am a non-smoker and it always pisses me off when someone blows their smoke in my face. I rarely have dinner or brunch in Vancouver’s patios because I know that some people will not be respectful enough to stop smoking just ’cause we’re eating. So I do support the bylaw.

    That’s one of the things I hated about Montreal (and you simply cannot breathe in Madrid, Berlin or Paris). Last time I was in Madrid I almost got asthma.

  3. TawcanThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 9:42am PDT

    I’m not a smoker so I hate getting smokes blow in my face. It’s good to know that I won’t have to face that while sitting on a patio enjoying the nice sunshine.

    On the other hand I do feel sorry for smokers. They’re getting treated like bunch 2nd class citizens.

  4. Emm.Thursday, September 13th, 2007 — 12:30pm PDT

    Actually, a lot of smokers have commented on the bylaws in Calgary as a good thing. Smoker or non, a place filled to the ceiling with second hand smoke is pretty disgusting.

  5. PatZThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 4:48pm PDT

    just tell them all to go to that smoking room at the airport. that way they can all make up travel stories and the rest of us dont have to worry about our food being garnished with ash.

  6. JohnThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 7:08pm PDT

    I think this is a bad thing. I don’t agree with sanitizing all public places. What I mean is, if you absolutely must have a clean, quiet, peaceful enviroment free of offensive stimuli, don’t leave your house! That’s the reality of big cities. If you go out in public, you’re going to see, smell, hear and breathe some stuff you don’t like.

    I feel like smokers are being singled out, because right now there’s this anti-smoking hysteria, this frantic push to demonize all smokers. I know said I don’t believe in completely sanitizing public places, but for the sake of argument let’s look at some of the various forms of pollution that should be addressed. What about those guys that go roaring around on extremely loud motorcycles? Maybe they already are illegal, but it certainly isn’t enforced and I’m sure that they do damage to people’s hearing. Better yet, what about the thousands of cars driving around the city? Talk about air pollution. And I bet there are a ton of snooty non-smokers that drive around in huge SUVs and don’t even see the irony.

  7. DuaneThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 7:52pm PDT

    John, you could just as easily say that smokers should stay at home if they want to carcinogens in their system. Honestly, does having a non smoker next to you bother you? Probably not. So it’s not entirely fair to compare smokers to non-smokers, since when a non-smoker is forced to suck in smoke, they obviously don’t enjoy it, where I don’t think smokers are bothered to suck in clean air from a non-smoker.

    And maybe SUVs are really bad and cause pollution, but they don’t affect your ability to enjoy yourself at the bar for the most part if you’re a non smoker.

  8. KeithThursday, September 13th, 2007 — 10:02pm PDT

    This for me is an easy answer. Cigarette smoke drives me nuts and I completely agree with not having someone else’s “private” invading my “public” space. I have no problem with people smoking and killing themselves with cigarettes as long as they don’t take me with them by way of second-hand smoke.

  9. ZanstormSunday, September 16th, 2007 — 2:50am PDT

    I am a smoker and have many opinions on the matter.
    For one, some people are anal and stupid over second hand smoke and need my foot in their ass. This would be more in regards to making smoking on the street illegal, and even smoking in lineups for that matter.
    However, I approve of non-smoking restaurants and even patios, especially when the tables are close to eachother.
    I’d like to see a separation of the 2. Meaning having smoking-permitted bars as well as non-smoking bars, diners, patios etc. Give people a choice.
    Don’t just isolate smokers completely.

    Keith: Give me a break. Maybe you should check your foods for pesticides while you’re at it. Genetic diseases that run in your family tree will kill you before 2nd hand smoke does.

    As a side point, there are a lot of disrespectful smokers as well. They don’t need to blow the smoke in your face. There is no need for that. Alas, they make the rest of us look bad.

  10. ArianeSunday, September 16th, 2007 — 11:07am PDT

    I. CAN’T. WAIT.

    there are few bylaws i have been so excited to hear about. i hate not being able to sit and relax on a patio, or outside at a coffee shop without someone lighting up next to me and making me not be able to breathe. that, my clueless fellow posters is why it’s different with smoking, because so many people suffer from allergies and asthma and when the smokers smoke, we can’t breathe. it’s not just annoying and unpleasant, it’s taking away my ability to provide my body with oxygen, and that is not okay.

    end rant.

  11. ZanstormSunday, September 16th, 2007 — 10:41pm PDT

    “my clueless fellow posters ”

    You can rant about that all you like, but you with athsma are such a small minority. You don’t and shouldn’t be the deciding factor in the matter.

  12. StephenSaturday, September 22nd, 2007 — 2:43pm PDT

    My rant is, they should ban smoking inside, let them out in patios, and limit booze sales.

    There should be a non-smoking section on patios.

    And, they should decriminalize marijuana in Vancouver and clone vaporizer lounges for them.

    If only nicotine were less stronger so they could vaporize tobacco for those nicotine heads, who constantly “waste” over 50 percent of their cigarette while smoking.

    getting back to reality, schools need to replace DARE-like education including alcohol and booze with a Less-is-More policy like the following:

    With regard especially to marijuana and all recreational drugs, LESS IS MORE.

    In short, do enough to be happy not delirious, psychotic, or out of your mind.

    If you haven’t the willpower to have fun on one drink, one puff, one hit, one line, or one pill, then you have no concept of the word MODERATION.

    And yes, when your substance use becomes abuse, I hope you find it in yourself to check yourself into the nearest mental health & addictions centre.

    This goes for cigarette smokers and hungry people too.

    Doing anything to excess is almost a form of mental illness.

    Reference: http://gandhara.blogspot.com/2007/05/methamphetamine-and-war-against.html

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  15. a.m. taylorMonday, March 31st, 2008 — 7:13am PDT

    This new smoking law is all so hypocritical, I definatly agree with no smoking areas,but there should be areas for smokers as well,after all it’s a free country,or is it ? Vancouver seems to be on it’s way to being a police state,and it seems to be full of very mean spirit people.
    Those people who are so worried about the health of others,should now start a working on banning alcohol, more people suffer and die from this, and then why not get rid of all the dogs that mess the streets, cars and airplanes definetly on the list, the dirty streets and smelly rubbish bins should be looked into as well,if one wants to live in a perfect world and one has to feel sorry for tourist who have already booked to visit Vancouver, as a frequent traveler have spoken to many people who have told me they will never come to Vancouver again because of what they think are strange drinking and smoking laws.This certainly is a fun city alright.

  16. PaulTuesday, April 1st, 2008 — 7:47pm PDT

    I applaud the recent changes to the smoking laws as I think that there are true health hazards with this habit. I do however take some issue with the way that non-smokers (NS) vilify smokers (S). Firstly, the government and other private agencies have literally spent MILLIONS of dollars on campaigns designed to get people to quit smoking – good for them, it is working. Here are some things I think we should all consider…
    1) The number of homeless in Canada continues to increase. No roof over their head and they could freeze to death, but hey at least they don’t smoke.
    2) The number of under-nourished children in Canada continues to get worse. They may starve to death, but at least tobacco won’t kill them.
    3) Toronto, Abbotsford, and several other cities have had a record number of air pollution warnings in past years. So bad that people are told not to go outside or they could DIE. Well the pollution from industry might kill ya, but at least tobacco won’t.
    4) Canadians continue to purchase a record number of SUV’s and vehicles that throw THOUSANDS of tons of toxins in the air every year… In fact did you know that a 4 cylinder car puts more toxins in the air in a day than a smoker in a year? Well, at least tobacco won’t kill them.
    5) The number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer is on the rise, funny that most of them live in high pollution centres like major cities… AH well, at least tobacco won’t kill them.
    6) All those SUV’s, flights to exotic places are destroying our world. Our children will probably live to see the flooding of New York, But hey tobacco won’t kill them.
    7) It is estimated that we drive one species to extinction every day as we chop down trees and clear land to make paper and build our big fancy homes. But hey tobacco won’t kill you.
    8) The rate of global warming is so serious that the world’s weather patterns are changing to a point that millions are dying from starvation and disease caused by droughts, floods, etc. But hey at least tobacco is not killing them.
    9) We go to war to fight for oil, and thousands die, just so we can keep buying all our nice things, drive our SUV’s and take our trips. But hey… yup that’s right tobacco won’t kill us.
    My point is…
    The next time you get off the plane from your exotic vacation, where you bought some items for dirt cheap made in a third world country by children, and get into your SUV that costs $100 to fill a tank that lasts a week, and you drive to your 2000 square foot home that costs hundreds to heat a month, and you throw out all that food that went to waste in your fridge (could have fed a family in Africa for a week), and you take a hot shower for 1/2 an hour using all that fresh water (more than some will see in a life time), and then clean your shower with those chemicals that make your life easier but are poison (it says right on the bottle not to drink them) and wash them down the drain, then crawl into your nice warm bed for a restful night… think twice before you tell off a non-smoker.
    The reality is, you are no better than they are.

  17. survivorFriday, April 11th, 2008 — 4:04pm PDT

    Paul Says:

    April 1st, 2008 at 7:47 pm
    My point is…
    The next time you get off the plane from your exotic vacation, where you bought some items for dirt cheap made in a third world country by children, and get into your SUV that costs $100 to fill a tank that lasts a week, and you drive to your 2000 square foot home that costs hundreds to heat a month, and you throw out all that food that went to waste in your fridge (could have fed a family in Africa for a week), and you take a hot shower for 1/2 an hour using all that fresh water (more than some will see in a life time), and then clean your shower with those chemicals that make your life easier but are poison (it says right on the bottle not to drink them) and wash them down the drain, then crawl into your nice warm bed for a restful night… think twice before you tell off a non-smoker.
    The reality is, you are no better than they are

    sry, but did you mean smoker? or non-smoker? the end of this statement of yours has left me wondering if was not a smoker? you meant to put?

  18. ann lindsayMonday, April 21st, 2008 — 3:21pm PDT

    Hitler banned smoking some seventy years ago, and we all know where that lead to ? (good job have blue eyes )
    Vancouver is full of mean spirited people and are all on their own little power trips these days it seems, very sad.
    ” The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule “

  19. RobertTuesday, June 3rd, 2008 — 12:10am PDT

    I am 41 years old and am now a non-smoker, but I still remember my carefree days of youth when I would hang out in smokey cafes in Vancouver, guzzling java and chain-smoking whilst having long conversations with the other artfags, club kids and punk rockers. Then the government passed a bylaw banning smoking in Vancouver restaurants, and cafe culture just died. Coffee and cigarettes just go together it seems, and those artsy cafes just didn’t seem so funky when you couldn’t smoke in them.
    Back in those days bars were smokey too, because virtually everyone who went to bars smoked while they drank. If you didn’t like smoke, you didn’t go to bars, (If you’re that concerned about your health, what are you doing in a bar anyway? Booze isn’t exactly good for you either.)
    Even though I no longer go to bars or cafes and I no longer smoke cigarettes, I find it chilling that the government can so easily eliminate people’s freedom and then be applauded by a bunch of sanctimonious hypocrites. I suppose it won’t be long before they ban alcohol and fatty foods, and then impose an 8 p.m. curfew. And I’m sure certain people will be blogging about how much safer they feel when that happens.

  20. DaralynWednesday, June 11th, 2008 — 3:36pm PDT

    Why is it people are so hyper about smoke?
    Why is it people forgot to live and let live?
    Why is it in this day in age if you feel you are not controlling someone else you are not happy?
    Are you healthy?or are you one of the ones on the number one hit list obesity.Why do I have to suffer on a bus or plane being crushed by some fat people?
    Do I got to the grocery and start picking the food out of their shopping because they are killing themselves.
    Is the smoke killing you really?Is that 100% proof!
    You have a lot of carcinogens in the air that you breath but I do not see the buses stopping ,nor the car nor, the taxis nor the factories? Do you think drinking and killing people on the roads is an alternative?How about jogging up the road instead of the sidewalk.Did not know you had a running license.Hey lets just live life everybody instead of wondering and worrying about how we are going to die.After all no matter how it is it will not be a happy healthy moment other wise we would not die.So live and when your time comes you will know it was well spend on having a life in stead of always bitching!

  21. Adrian ElliotSunday, July 13th, 2008 — 2:21am PDT

    Robert – I live in Madrid and when I arrived here 8 years ago as a student I didn’t care that much either about drinking in smoke filled bars with friends even though I was a non smoker. It was an annoyance, I would get back home smelling of the stuff and with a sore throat for 24 hours, but I chose to have the social life I had and generally put up with it.

    But now I work, I am 8 years older, and smoking no longer just annoys me, it actually makes me ill. The difference is that now I have a relatively high powered job and when I go out for a drink (no longer voluntary, really) with my colleagues, boss, etc, I am forced to passive smoke. The stomach and general pains that result make me worried for my health, or at the very least developing an ulcer. I am actually now considering moving abroad since my health is too important. I do sport 3 times a week, have a healthy diet, but I am still not healthy due to a habit that is not my own.

    I therefore suggest those smokers in Canada who want some bars to allow smoking, etc. should look at Madrid before continuing to argue that line. It is very difficult for a non smoker to force a group of smokers in to a non smoking bar so normally the non smoker ends up accepting the worst option for his/ her own health. It may not be nice having so many laws, and telling smokers where they can and can not smoke but at the end of the day the perils of smoking have been no secret since the 1940s so although I can empathise, they should ultimately accept the consequences of their chosen habit, and stop blaming their situation on non smokers.

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  23. BandituTuesday, April 7th, 2009 — 12:12am PDT

    Vancouver is filled with anti-smoking Nazi’s. Never again will i visit this city. I have been unaware of crazy smoking law at a patio bar and got kicked out by bouncer! I have no idea how to tell him (my english is bad)! i didnt know vancouver you cant smoke inside OR outside (especially at a bar)! Fuck Vancouver and fuck you anti-smoking nazis, go sit in your mcdonalds booth and choke on your big macs. VANCOUVER IS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY WITH TERRIBLE CULTURE AND CRAZY SMOKING LAWS! seig heil!

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