Halifax installs first designated smoking areas as pot legalization looms
Out-of-bounds smokers risk fines
Halifax ramped up its stretch run toward cannabis legalization, installing the first designated smoking areas on Friday, which drew some negative reviews from smokers and a non-smoker.
People who smoke or vape tobacco or cannabis will be restricted as of Monday to city-approved smoking areas with offenders risking fines if they smoke on city property.
One of the first designated smoking areas was set up at the Dartmouth Bridge Terminal where city workers removed eight cigarette butt stops, which were replaced by a single new smoking receptacle.
Smoking will be allowed within three metres of the new can and smokers immediately noticed that the new designated spot was outdoors, while the old cans had been under a shelter.
"I think it's a little far away, just to be blunt," said smoker Iain Doig. "I hate to see the people that are handicapped or if the weather's really bad. I mean it's going to be some problems, I would say."
Doig said he'll obey the law — weather permitting.
Meanwhile, Tara Julian enjoyed her apple-watermelon flavoured nicotine vape, while she still can, under the bridge terminal shelter.
"I think that's very inconvenient," she said. "But, I mean if the law's enforced that way, you can't really do much."
Julian said she might stop vaping while waiting for the bus rather than heading outside to the designated smoking zone.
"My attitude will be like, 'Hey, well I don't want to miss my bus, so I'm not going to miss it,'" she said. "I'm going to put away my vape and save it for another time."
Derrick Farrell, a non-smoker at the terminal, predicted smokers will give the designated area a pass.
"Especially with no shelter … it's still not going to work because it's raining right now," Farrell said. "Who's going to want to stand out in the rain?"
City officials said they'll take an educational approach to the new smoking regulations, handing out pamphlets rather than tickets — at least initially.
Smokers and vapers who want to know where to go can access a map with icons showing the locations of Halifax's designated smoking areas.
More icons will be added as more areas are approved.