It’s a Ranty Kind of Day – Smoking in Metro Vancouver Parks

There are so many things I could rant about today like my mother, work, illness, traffic, life in general. Sadly, I am not free to rant about what I really want to rant about unless I password protect it and I don’t really like to do that. So, I will rant about yet another CBC BC Almanac call in program. Generally, the quality of these programs is a little bit higher than you would normally hear on commercial radio. That statement was true until today. I really felt bad for Mark Forsythe today!

The topic of the second part of the show was Metro Vancouver considering a ban on smoking in all parks, beaches and campgrounds. (you can listen here) The guest Mark had on was Langely City Councillor Gayle Martin who chairs the parks committee. After Mark introduced her and her position, he asked her to comment on the issue. It went downhill from there… Her first response was that she was against it – plain and simple. She sees it as an imposition on the rights of people to do something that is legal. She actually used the following analogy: you wouldn’t tell a fat person to stay off the trails because they sweat and then they smell would you? I just about choked.

Then the calls started. Most callers did not agree with the ban and saw no reason for it. What really struck me was the complete lack of sophistication in the views being put forth. Martin kept saying things like: most smokers would not light up in front of a swing set in a kids’ park. When the issue of allergies was brought up she asked why should someone with health issues trump a smoker’s right to smoke? It was utterly bizarre. She could not seem to figure out that for some people, cigarette smoke is a serious hazard. Then there were the people who equated smoking with driving a car. If you drive a car, their argument goes then you have no right to criticize a smoker. Other callers suggested that tobacco companies be outlawed and tobacco made illegal if people were not going to be allowed to smoke wherever they want.

One of the things that was completely missed was the effect on children seeing people smoke. If I had children, there is no way I would want them to be anywhere someone was smoking. It just would not happen. I wouldn’t want them breathing in second-hand smoke, nor would I want them thinking that smoking was acceptable. I am an ex-smoker so I really do not buy into the idea that smokers can be considerate with their addiction. I was a smoker and I was never considerate to anyone. It was clear to me that if you were in my car or my house I was going to smoke and I didn’t really care if you objected.

I hope Metro Vancouver adopts a bylaw that bans smoking in parks, campgrounds and beaches. We do not need the next generation thinking that smoking is cool. People should be free to go to public areas, all supported by our mutual tax dollars, and not have to risk their health so that addicts can engage in their addiction.

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Published in: on May 31, 2011 at 9:02 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The issue for me here is the littering. Smokers are the WORST litterers EVER. In parks, beaches, campgrounds and other such places, they seem perfectly OK with flicking their butts wherever the fuck they want to and I think it’s inconsiderate, gross, and they should be fined for littering.

  2. I was a smoker, and I smoked in front of my kids and it took me a long time to quit. However, at that point it was weirdly socially acceptable to smoke anywhere. Once awareness started to build, I only smoked outside and never inside the house, and eventually I quit five years ago. My kids were very supportive of my quitting, which is very cool.
    That being said, litter laws should be upped, and no smoking bans are good idea, especially in children’s areas, etc. I don’t see anything wrong with banning smoking in a park. But I guess you could make a smoking area, covered in cement, with a fee to enter (proceeds going to aid the park), where smokers could gather and smoke to their hearts (or not *heart’s* hahaha) content. Make the smoking park area fee have parking and cement benches…Have someone sell coffee on the way in. Charge them like 10 dollars for the right to hang out there, or give them a lower monthly membership. *grin* Now, that’s the way to solve that problem!

  3. Arguing that smoking bans are an “imposition on the rights of people to do something that is legal” is just silly. You can’t drink in public and drinking is legal. You can’t have sex in public and having sex is legal.

    Also, I thought smoking already was banned in parks & beaches. I went for a run along Kits, Jericho and Locarno beaches this weekend and there were signs everywhere saying that smoking is banned in parks & beaches.

    • Yes, it is illegal in the City of Vancouver. This bylaw was going to target all Metro Vancouver parks across 24 municipalities.

  4. I am not a smoker but I think it’s time we get off the back of smokers. EVERYONE has rights and it seems that the rights of smokers get squashed all the time. Today’s favorite pi**ing pole and when we have successfully wiped them out then it’ll be on to the next thing, probably obese people. I am one of those and would not appreciate being dictated what I can and can not do and being banned everywhere due to my obesity.

    I don’t buy into smokers fouling up the air outside, they are no worse than the buses and truck exhausts, pollution from factories, wood smoke (as much as I love that smell), stepping in dog poop or horse manure, farmers spraying their fields, toxic fumes from all over…I could go on and on.

    I think what we CAN do is continue to insist that smokers don’t simply discard their butts all over the place, THAT is littering.


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