Expanding the Smoking Bylaw in Kingston

No smoking bylaw, smoking in publicOnce upon a time you could do it in restaurants, movie theatres, taxi cabs, and even in classrooms.  Doctors prescribed certain brands as a cure all, and Hollywood would have you believe that all the cool kids are doing it. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m referring to darts, death sticks, smokes…cigarettes. Nearly ten years ago, the City of Kingston banned smoking in most work places and public areas, from bingo halls to laundromats, arenas to elevators, public washrooms to food courts, while smokers were villanized and cast into the shadows. Recently, cities across Ontario have been making headlines as they move to take anti-smoking bylaws one step further.  Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
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Before I go any further, I want to come clean and admit that I’ve smoked a cigarette or two, but I’ve been clean for years. I feel as though my experience gives me the ability to see anti-smoking bylaws from both sides of the fence. Banning smoking on sidewalks and in parks seems excessive, but the again we’ve all passed that inconsiderate person on the street blowing stinky smoke in everyone’s direction. We can’t ban things just because of a few idiots, but should we embrace another anti-smoking measure in the name of health promotion, social responsibility and perhaps even sustainability? As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this important issue. Please drop off a comment or two. As an added incentive, this week we’ll be sending out one of our awesomely attractive, impossible to get anywhere else Kingstonist tees to the person responsible for our favorite/most thought provoking comment.

Special thanks to Mel Rowling for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

15 thoughts on “Expanding the Smoking Bylaw in Kingston

  • In my entire life I've never smoked a single cigarette but I truly believe the ban is strong enough. Banning smoking in open air public places seems excessive. If they are trying to end smoking altogether this is not the way to do it.

    I would definitely like to see a harder line taken against those who break the bylaw, however – people who are smoking too close to entrances and the like – and for bylaw enforcers to begin considering cigarette butts as litter. But as for the smoking itself, well, if the aim is to ban noxious smoke in the open air (where it's doubtful anyone ends up breathing it in second-hand, in the vast, vast majority of cases) then open air perfume and other scents must be banned as well. But then that's the slippery slope, isn't it, before you know it we'll be quarantining people who've eaten cabbage or beans in the last 18-24 hours. If you catch my meaning.

    I digress.

    I think the current ban is quite sufficient, save for the lack of control over what happens to the butts.

  • People seem to be pretty polite about where they smoke in Canada (compared to a lot of places in Europe), and as long as you can't smoke in enclosed spaces, I can't see that there is a need for laws banning it elsewhere. The far bigger threat to health in the 'open air' comes from exhaust fumes, but we aren't going to get a ban on them any time soon…

  • I echo the sentiment above.

    Protecting people in workplaces or confined spaces is one thing, but taking the step beyond that reeks of social engineering…. by marginalizing or shaming smokers to the point where they become lawbreakers by smoking outside…. I make no judgement whether this works to curb the behaviour or not, but lets just accept it for what it is…. I dont care if you smoke at home or wherever as long as its not near me.

    By the time people are fully-addicted (at age 18-25 or whaterver – who starts smoking over the age of 21 anyway?) , the government gets to play them both ways. "We dont want you to smoke in public places because that would make people really sad/cranky/angry, but we dont mind collecting taxes from the products or the enterprises that sell them." Nice.

  • I know this comment will likely get poo-pooed but I think it should be banned from sidewalks as well as doorways. Walking behind someone who is smoking is just as gross as walking through a cloud outside a building. This post reminds me of our post on fast food bans, however, the main difference here is that second hand smoke is harmful to non-smokers. If someone chooses to eat a happy meal, what do I care? But if they are smoking around me, it can directly affect my health. And it stinks.

    • I feel the exact same way about people who wear perfume.I get asthma attacks from and I have to walk behind people everywhere trailing their so called "scents" To me it acts like a poison and closes up my lungs and throat in seconds. I carry a puffer with me but, it still makes me sick. I think the by law as it is, is strong enough. Perfume can directly affect my health risk and it stinks too for those of us severely allergic to it. Are we going to ban it in parks and walk ways too? I think that is going too far.

  • It is definitely irritating when you are sitting at a patio, enjoying the (somewhat) fresh air, and another patron steps just outside the limits of the patio and lights up. Airborne cig smoke clearly doesn't understand the boundaries…

    I don't think 'bans' are always the right way to go necessarily, but it is clearly frustrating that smokers, at times, have no sense of what is reasonably considerate behaviour to others. I am all for pro-choice when it comes to individuals making decisions on their own habits and health, but it is truly inconsiderate to others when those habits impact my health, or the health of others who chose not to smoke.

    And totally agree with tommyvallier. I don't get road rage, but I do get really angry when I see people flicking their butts out of their car windows. Use the frickin' ashtray already!

  • I just remembered this: when I was at Disney World in 2003, they had established designated smoking areas. These were all outdoors, away from the main footpath, but close enough and plentiful enough that the smokers didn't have to search for them or feel banished. I wonder if something like this could ever work in a downtown?

  • Banning smoking in enclosed spaces makes sense, since it does create an offensive odor and second hand smoke is something no one should be forcefully subjected to. That being said, a ban outdoors is overkill and would be horrendously impractical to enforce, not to mention another nightmare for owners of restaurants, bars and nightclubs – where would their patrons go for a smoke break? I dislike the concept of creating a nanny state, and this smacks of that.

    Maybe bus-stops, as they are often enclosed, but nowhere else.

  • first congratulations Harvey on walking away from cigarettes; it's not an easy task for many including myself

    as a smoker, I am disgusted by seeing cig butts littering sidewalks and flower boxes (they're not ashtrays)

    Kingston Transit Bus Shelters have No Smoking by-law stickers but stand-alone Bus Stop Signs don't; if I was a non-smoker I'll simply step away from a smoker like I do people with body odour

    I'm also not a fan of What Shall We Ban Next ? the three levels of government have this art mastered

    what will be next after cigarettes are wiped off the map… alcohol? capri pants? left-handed people?

  • Though it may seem excessive to ban smoking outdoors, it's a little silly that I can go out to a bar without having to worry about being exposed to second-hand smoke, but I can't take my kids to, say, the Santa Claus Parade or Movies in the Square without them having to spend the whole time breathing other people's discarded smoke. On more than one occasion I've seen people smoking standing in the middle of a playground. There has to be a way to get rid of this sort of thing.

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  • I do agree with the smoking band close to the doors. I am not impressed with just the smoking. I don't drink and I find it very upsetting and disruptive when I walk down the street and have to listen to the drinkers at the pubs and drinking on the side walk patios. Why can't they leave it inside the bars. If you are going to segregate smokers then lets segregate the drinkers too. I feel that most people are considerate of other peoples feelings and not smoke around the kids. Most people go away from the spectators.

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