The Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre may be getting some help in its efforts to curb smoking.

City administration is recommending council extend enforcement of the city's tobacco bylaw to the hospital property.

A city report says council should amend the bylaw — something the health sciences centre asked for last month. The report says it would give the hospital another tool to enforce its ban on smoking on hospital grounds. The ban has been ignored by many patients and visitors.

'Some people did have to be … convinced by more appropriate action in the way of a fine.' - Sault Area Hospital spokesperson Mario Paluzzi.

Hospitals in Sault Ste. Marie and Peterborough are covered by their municipalities' respective non-smoking bylaws.

Peterborough hospital spokesperson Arnel Schiratti said repeat offenders have been fined, but “nobody's goal here is to provide infractions, it's to provide information and be helpful in advising them where they can and cannot light up.”

Sault Area Hospital spokesperson Mario Paluzzi said fines have been laid there as well, but said the hospital's main goal is to get people to butt out or smoke off-property.

“Some people did have to be … convinced by more appropriate action in the way of a fine, and we do still lay the odd citation from time to time,” he said.

If Thunder Bay city council approves, staff from the Thunder Bay health unit and hospital security will be empowered to enforce the bylaw at the city’s hospital.

Peterborough amended its non-smoking bylaw to include the hospital in 2008 when the Peterborough Regional Health Centre moved to its new location. The Sault Area Hospital also moved into a new building in 2011 and it had the city amend the bylaw prior to the move.

In Peterborough, hospital security and any staff member can enforce the policy by directing people where to smoke. City bylaw officers can issue the citations.

In the Sault, the only citations are issued by tobacco enforcement officers with Algoma Public Health.