British Columbia

City of North Vancouver approves upping fines for widespread public smoking ban

A bylaw amendment is proposing banning smoking at all city parks, plazas and pathways, including the popular Shipyards District.

$230 fine for smoking at all city parks, plazas and pathways, including the popular Shipyards District

The City of North Vancouver council will be voting on new smoking restrictions Monday night. (Noel Celis/AFP/Getty Images)

It will soon be a lot more difficult to find a place to light up in the City of North Vancouver — and a lot more expensive if you get busted doing it in a no-smoking zone.

City council unanimously voted Monday night to more than triple fines for smoking violations, from $70 to $230.

It comes months after council approved banning smoking altogether in city parks, plazas and multi-use pathways. Council also approved expanding banned zones to the popular Shipyards District near Lonsdale Quay and along the waterfront North Shore Spirit Trail.

All told, the city currently bans smoking within 7.5 metres of buildings and public buildings, walkways, playgrounds and beaches.

Council also approved a proposed ban on vaping advertisement on city-owned sites and property, including transit shelters, bike racks and benches.

A staff report argued the vaping industry often targets youth, and emerging health concerns and gaps in advertising regulations have led to a need for the city to step in.

How to enforce?

Staff and councillors acknowledged that enforcement of the new regulations would pose the biggest challenge — just two years ago, a more expansive ban was rejected by council for similar reasons.  

"The ones that are still smoking can be pretty dedicated to their habit," said councillor Don Bell, explaining that he had gone up to some users to inform them of the bylaw to see how many people knew it was coming in. 

"Sometimes I get a polite Canadian 'oh, I'm sorry.' Usually I get a less than polite response, and I'm just concerned that if we do send young people, we've we're not putting them in a [tough] situation, because of these smokers are pretty strong-willed."

Mayor Linda Buchanan said that "it's always our last resort to ticket" and hoped that an effective outreach campaign could ease the transition.

"I know [no-smoking signs] have to display the message we're trying to convey, but perhaps with a little bit more light humour as opposed to 'No, you can't do this. No you can't do that.'"

With files from Jon Hernandez and Justin McElroy

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