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Cancer Society wants to see provincial law banning smoking, vaping in public

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VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) wants the BC government to take the reins on smoking laws and create province-wide smoking and vaping bans in all public places including patios, parks, and beaches.

Municipal governments are currently responsible for creating their own smoking bylaws, however, CCS says the regulations are not consistent, particularly in rural areas.

“In the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island, where our smoking rate is 12 per cent, 96 per cent of the population benefit from bylaw protection. Outside of these boundaries, the smoking rate is 20 per cent and only 41 per cent of people benefit from outdoor smoking bylaws,” CCS health promotion coordinator Megan Klitch says.

The group would also like the province to include guidelines for post-secondary campuses.

“The Canadian Cancer Society believes the government has the right and responsibility to ensure equitable access to clean air and positive role modeling for all British Columbians and that this right should be equitable for all British Columbians, no matter where they live,” Klitch says.

In September, the province expanded the distance smokers must stand from doorways from three metres to six metres, regulated vaping in the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act and included health authority properties in act.

In 2012, the Union of BC Municipalities voted in favour of the province putting forth smoking legislation.

BC has the lowest smoking rate at 14.3 per cent, according to data from Statistics Canada from 2014, however, a third of youth in Grade 11 and 12 are trying smoking.