Time to butt out on BC Ferries: smoking ban starts today

As of Jan. 22, there will be no smoking allowed on B.C. Ferries or in any terminals. The ban includes cigarettes, e-cigarettes and marijuana.

No smoking of any kind will be permitted on board or in terminals

A smoker sits outside on a ferry in 1990 after BC Ferries banned smoking inside vessels. Smoking will no longer be permitted on all routes, including on deck and in terminals, beginning January 22. (CBC News Archives)

Starting today, BC Ferries will no longer permit passengers to step out on the deck for a cigarette.

Smoking is banned on all BC Ferries vessels and in all terminals. The ban includes e-cigarettes and marijuana.

"It may be challenging for some customers and employees...but 85 per cent of British Columbians don't smoke and those customers are asking us to go smoke-free," said BC Ferries spokesperson, Deborah Marshall.

BC Ferries banned smoking inside vessels in the summer of 1990.

In 2016, the provincial government increased no-smoking buffer zones from three metres to six metres around any "doorway, intake or open window" to a public space or workplace. 

According to Marshall, there is not enough deck space on certain ferries for smokers to comply with the six-metre rule.

"We are pleased to now offer a smoke-free environment for the health and wellness of our customers, as well as our employees."

No penalties

There is no plan to fine or penalize those caught smoking.

"It will be an educational process," said Marshall. "Our staff will inform somebody smoking that we do offer a smoke-free environment and we would ask that our customers respect that."

BC Ferries will also have smoking-cessation aids available for purchase on board.