For every 100 people who die from drug dependency issues in Canada, approximately 80 are from smoking.
This was one of the many statistics Interior Health representative Jeff Conners gave to the District of 100 Mile House council meeting on June 28.
Conners brought forth a new bylaw proposal, which included banning smoking from all District managed properties, including trails, plazas, parks, beaches and recreation facilities.
It also included banning smoking from bar and restaurant patios.
However, traditional tobacco use was excluded.
Conners said his main goal was for council to consider developing a report recommending an outdoor smoke-free bylaw for 100 Mile House.
“There are two things you can always guarantee. Death can be caused by smoking and it’s never too late to quit.”
His presentation was in tandem with a current rise in British Columbia’s municipal governments considering smoke-free bylaws.
Kelowna, Williams Lake, Salmon Arm, Sicamous and 28 other municipalities have already created new smoke-free bylaws.
However, simply banning smokers isn’t the only way Conners says the issue can be solved.
“We have found that the educational approach can work just as well. We would rather give educational seminars to people who smoke rather than tickets.”
When it came to the issue of smokers disagreeing or not following the bylaws, Conners said the negative reaction has been very minimal.
“Most smokers usually comply as they understand the bylaw. A bonus is bylaw enforcement needed is usually minimal if at all.”
Conners noted that Kamloops had banned smoking from public places, such as parks and beaches, and the results had proved successful.
After the presentation, Mayor Mitch Campsall and other council members said they were intrigued, but they felt the first step must be made on a provincial level.
“[The council] believes the [provincial government] should be at the forefront of this,” said Campsall.
“If [the provincial government] is good with it, I don’t see how it wouldn’t work here. We have a very courteous smoking population in town.”
With the increasing rate of co-operating governments, Conners said Interior Health predicts that more than 50 per cent of municipal governments will have new smoke-free bylaws in place by 2018.