Smoking ban extended to patios, walking trails, playgrounds

The New Brunswick government will impose more restrictions on smoking in public places.

New legislation also prohibits use of e-cigarettes anywhere cigarettes are banned

Health Minister Victor Boudreau introduced legislation to make public the amount of money that doctors in private practise bill to medicare. (CBC)

The New Brunswick government will impose more restrictions on smoking in public places.

Health Minister Victor Boudreau has introduced a bill that will ban smoking in any public place where children might be exposed to the smoke. The list includes:

  • On restaurant patios and similar outdoor facilities, and within three metres of the patios.
  • Within nine metres of doorways, windows and air intakes of enclosed public places and indoor workplaces.
  • On or within 20 metres of playgrounds, sports areas, and other outdoor public places used by children.
  • On or within nine metres of a public walking or jogging trail.
  • Within provincial parks, except in rented campsites, on golf course, and designated areas within the park.

The bill would also ban the use of e-cigarettes and water pipes anywhere that cigarettes are banned.

The fine for violating the smoking ban is $1,100 for an individual while a business could be fined $5,200.

Boudreau says not only will the restrictions limit people's exposure to second-hand smoke, "it will also further de-normalize tobacco use and reduce the amount of time children are exposed to smoking as a socially acceptable activity."

New Brunswick has introduced legislation to extend the smoking ban in the province to restaurant patios, playgrounds, walking and jogging trails, and anywhere children may be present. (CBC)
The move was applauded by anti-smoking organizations.

"It's a great day," said Neil Russon of the Canadian Cancer Society. "Any day that government enacts legislation that reduces smoking or prevents smoking in public places is a good day."

Russon says New Brunswick has the highest smoking rate in Canada at 20 per cent, compared to the Canadian average of 15 per cent, and lung cancer accounts for one-quarter of all cancer deaths in the province.

And 85 per cent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking, he added.

"If we can prevent that, it's a good day for New Brunswickers."

Russon says now he wants to see the province crack down on flavoured tobacco. Boudreau says the government is looking at that, but it will involve a separate piece of legislation.

Arthur Thomson of the New Brunswick Lung Association says the benefit of the new law will be making smoking less visible to children, because people who don't start smoking by the age of 19 are less likely to start later in life.

Boudreau couldn't say exactly how this new law would be enforced. For restaurant patios, owners and staff will be able to tell people to butt out.

But in public places like parks and trails, "everybody's going to be asked to help with the enforcement of this."

And he said even public knowledge of the rules should contribute to curbing smoking in those areas.

Boudreau's announcement took place on the patio of Fredericton restaurant Isaac's Way, which has voluntarily banned smoking on the patio.

Jason Lejeune, a co-owner, says restaurant owners don't need to fear losing business because of the new rules.

"I think they should review their business model and look at it as an opportunity to attract a different kind of clientele," he said.

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