Surrey is set to ban smoking at all parks and beaches within the city.
On Wednesday night, Surrey’s Parks, Recreation and Culture Committee is expected to pass a staff report recommending the creation of a bylaw forbidding people from lighting up in the civic areas.
Coun. Mary Martin, chair of the committee and the head of the Mayor’s Task Force on Health, expects the notion to pass unanimously both at committee and council.
“I expect it to go pretty smoothly,” Martin said Tuesday. “It’s a health issue and I think it’s important that people understand the significance of smoking within our community.”
She said the proposed law is particularly important for youth and seniors, which are more likely to be affected by second-hand smoke.
The proposal to bring forward a bylaw comes after a pilot project of several months to gauge community reaction to it.
Surrey’s parks and recreation department initiated the pilot project in May, placing several signs in areas used by children that smoking is not allowed.
During the pilot period, one person was caught, and complied with the request to put the cigarette out.
The city’s current smoking bylaw, enacted on July 31, 2008, prohibits anyone from smoking within 7.5 metres of doorways, windows and air ducts. The city’s prohibitive distance is more than twice that required by the province (three metres).
Delta has had a 10-metre no-smoking zone since 2006.
James Repace, a recipient of the U.S. Surgeon General’s Medallion for his work on second-hand smoke, determined 7.5 metres is the required distance to be from a smoker to remain safe from harm.
Cigarette smoking is the primary risk factor for diseases of the circulatory system, cancers and respiratory diseases. Exposure to second-hand smoke kills approximately 100 people in B.C. each year, costing the province almost $40 million in health care costs.
When the bylaw banning smoking at parks and beaches is passed, those caught will face a fine of up to $200.