Pemberton Sets the Bar High with "Gold Standard" Smoking Bylaw
With limited capacity, enforcement of the Bylaw was difficult. The Village relied on effective messaging to change social norms, and complaint-based enforcement if bylaw violations were persistent.
British Columbia is an international leader in tobacco reduction campaigns and smoking cessation programs to improve the health of all British Columbians. With the update of BC’s Tobacco Control Act in 2007, new regulations came into effect to deter smoking in public spaces. A number of local governments throughout BC committed to supporting the Act by implementing bylaws and policies to help reduce the prevalence of smoking.
In alignment with BC’s Tobacco Control Act and the Village of Pemberton’s mission of improving the health of Pemberton residents, Council initiated a “gold standard” Smoking Regulation Bylaw in 2009.
Partnerships & Stakeholders
Summary of the Process
By 2008, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, District of Squamish, City of Vancouver, and City of Richmond had all implemented new Smoking Regulation Bylaws to align with the Tobacco Control initiatives implemented by the Province. With the approach of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, Vancouver Coastal Health was simultaneously encouraging communities throughout the Sea to Sky corridor to adopt a “gold standard” smoking bylaw. Accordingly, Pemberton followed suit and adopted a “gold standard” Smoking Regulation Bylaw in 2009. The final Bylaw dictates the following:
- The operator of any public establishment, vehicle, or private operation, other than one’s own home, must not cause, permit or allow a person to smoke within 6 metres from a doorway, window or air intake of any of the above mentioned places.
- The operator of any building, structure, place, area or vehicle where smoking is not permitted must post at least one sign that meets the requirements designated within this Bylaw.
- Smoking of tobacco products is not permitted within 25 metres of any recreational area, transit shelter, or school.
- Violations of this Bylaw may result in a fine between $150 to $1,000.
Although the bylaw was adopted, it was difficult to enforce due to limited resources. With only one part-time bylaw officer available, and Council realizing that hounding bylaw violators would not be an approach that would be well received by the community, Pemberton utilized an approach that focused on education, awareness, and changing social norms. This approach was one of the keys to successful implementation of the bylaw. By distributing information packages to business operators, creating signage and messaging to discourage smoking, and Council ensuring that their strategy was not overly bureaucratic, community members were able to adjust and conform to the new bylaw.
Key Outcomes & Impacts
Businesses have committed to complying with the bylaw by displaying appropriate signage and prohibiting smoking in their establishment, while business operators and residents are more aware of smoking prevention initiatives in the community and the health impacts of smoking.
Village of Pemberton