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Get ready to butt-out: BC Ferries goes smoke-free Monday

FILE - Spirit of British Columbia. (Source: BCFerries.com)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A reminder for all you smokers who take ferries: Starting Monday, all BC Ferries terminals and vessels will go smoke-free, after the company announced the new policy last summer.

“[We announced it earlier] so that we could get our customers, as well as our employees, used to the new policy,” explains Deborah Marshall with BC Ferries. “We wanted to provide plenty of advanced notice for customers.”

She understands the changes will take some getting used to, but says they are being made with people’s health and wellness in mind.

“It helps control exposure to second-hand smoke for both our crew as well as our customers.”

Some, however, may be wondering why it’s important to ban smoking in a space that’s technically outside.

“Eighty-five per cent of British Columbians do not smoke, and over the years we have had lots of feedback from customers that were concerned about second-hand smoke,” she explains.

“There are other areas, like Whistler Mountain for example, that is smoke-free — that’s an outdoor space. I know there’s some shopping malls that are smoke-free, and we just wanted to follow suit to be able to provide our customers with a smoke-free environment.”

She doesn’t anticipate any significant problems, but admits it’ll be an educational process.

“It’ll be an education processs. If one of our employees sees a customer smoking, they will advise them that we are smoke-free environment now and they will ask them to put their cigarette out.”

Meanwhile, the company is also looking to help its own who may be struggling.

“We are offering our employees who would like to quit smoking a smoking-cessation program. We’ve got several different options for customers. So yes, it might be a challenge for some smokers and we want to work with them.”