New regulations will give peace officers the power to ticket smokers who light up in public places, Health Minister Victor Boudreau says.
Now, officers can only issue tickets to people caught smoking in a vehicle while children are present, and inspectors can only write compliance orders to managers and employers.
The proposed new regulations would strengthen enforcement of the Smoke Free Places Act, allowing peace officers and inspectors to issue fines ranging from $140 to $1,100 for smoking:
- On patios and all similar outdoor public facilities where food and/or alcohol is served and within three metres of the patio's boundary.
- Within nine metres of doorways, windows and air intakes of enclosed public places and indoor workplaces.
- On or within 20 metres of children's equipment and sports areas in outdoor public placces.
- On or within nine metres of a public walking or jogging trail in an outdoor public place.
- Within provincial parks, except within the boundaries of rented campsites, golf courses and designated areas within the park.
- On the grounds of regional health authorities.
"Your government is listening to the public's concerns regarding smoking and is taking concrete action to work towards a smoke-free New Brunswick," Boudreau said in a statement.
Representatives with both the New Brunswick Lung Association and the Canadian Cancer Society said they are pleased to see enforcement being added to the act.
"We are really glad to see this next step," said Barbara Walls, director of health initiatives for the lung association,
"People who are out in the fresh air, biking, enjoying parks, children's playgrounds, they are there because they want to enjoy the fresh air, not second-hand smoke."
Rob Cunnigham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, added smoke-free places are important to protect people from the health effects of second-hand smoke "and also as a motivator for people to quit smoking."
The draft regulations are posted for public review for 28 days and the public has until Aug. 2 to respond.