Saskatchewan

'I suspect we'll be making some changes' says Regina's mayor of smoking ban

The mayor of Regina wants to know what people think about expanding a smoking ban to include outdoor patio, playgrounds and other public spaces.
In Regina, there is no bylaw prohibiting smoking on patios of bars or restaurants. Saskatoon's patios have been smoke-free since 2004. (CBC)

The mayor of Regina wants to know what people think about expanding a smoking ban to include outdoor patios, playgrounds and other public spaces.

Mayor Michael Fougere and a number of city councillors are putting forward a motion at city council tonight, which would have city staff come up with ways to consult the public on expanding a provincial smoking ban.

"I suspect we'll be making some changes," Fougere said in a telephone interview.

He says while he expects some people will oppose an expansion of the ban, other cities have continued to strengthen their own bans sparking concerns that Regina is falling behind other jurisdictions.

Saskatoon has had smoke-free patios for more than a decade.

Anti-smoking advocates say while there is nothing wrong with asking the public again, Donna Pasiechnik with the Canadian Cancer Society in Regina, says people's views are clear.

"We've done two public opinion surveys now; one in 2013 and the most recent in 2015, and an overwhelming majority of people in Regina support a smoking bylaw," said Pasiechnik.

Pasiechnik says while some Regina bars have made their patios smoke-free voluntarily, that is not enough. 

"We believe this is a health issue," she said. "Workers who work those patios need to be protected in the same way they're protected when they work indoors."

Besides patios, the motion before city council is to gauge whether people in Regina want smoking restricted in playgrounds, sports fields, the fixed seats or bleachers in public venues, as well as any public gathering on city property.

It also wants to know whether the same restrictions should be in place for vaping or e-cigarettes.

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