Effective immediately, the city of Port Alberni will ban smoking on all playgrounds within the city limits.
“The program restricting smoking at playgrounds would create a clean air zone” around the city’s 13 playgrounds, director of parks, recreation and heritage Scott Kenny told council at their March 9 meeting.
The ban will rely on voluntary enforcement rather than a bylaw so as not to inundate the city’s one bylaw enforcement officer with calls. To that end, “healthy lungs at play” themed signage will be posted at and around the city’s playgrounds, Kenny said.
“All of it can be done through peer pressure, Kenny said. “We don’t need to have bylaw enforcement going out with water guns and scissors.”
The ban will echo similar ones in other municipalities.
“It’s definitely a trend and a good one that many are moving towards,” Kenny said.
The benefits aren’t only in air quality.
“It’s not only the health issues related to it but it’s also what the kids are seeing others do.”
Seven-and-a-half metres is considered the standard safe distance for second half smoke but Kenny is recommending 10-15 metres.
The next step is banning smoking at all city facilities, said Kenny.