Smoking and vaping of tobacco and nicotine products will not be allowed in most public places in the town of Banff starting February 1, to reduce the health risks associated with second-hand smoke.
This new bylaw builds on the recent new restrictions brought in by the Government of Alberta and improves alignment with the Town’s 2018 rules prohibiting smoking or vaping cannabis in any public spaces in the town site.
“This is ultimately about protecting the health of our residents and visitors,” said Mayor Corrie DiManno. “Second-hand smoke is dangerous. We want to promote healthy lifestyles in our community, and everyone has the right – especially children – to be free from the harmful effects of smoking and vaping tobacco.”
The ban will also help reduce litter in the national park community, as well as the risk of wildfire.
Provincial law bans smoking:
- Within five metres (16 feet) of a doorway, open window or air intake in a public place or workplace, including work vehicles
- Hospital, school, and childcare properties
- Playgrounds, sports and playing fields
- Skateboard and bicycle parks
- Zoos, outdoor theatres
- Public outdoor pools and splash pads
The Banff bylaw adds to the list, prohibiting smoking and vaping tobacco in the following area:
- Bus stops
- Public sidewalks and pedestrian zones
- Municipal parks/parkettes/green spaces
- Trails and Pathways
- Outdoor markets and events
- In proximity to children not in one’s custody, care, or control
Smoking will still be permitted on private property – where allowed – and in outdoor parking areas and Banff’s network of alleys. Businesses can continue to designate smoking areas on their property, such as in hotel grounds or private paths around a restaurant, as long as it conforms to provincial restrictions.
This new bylaw will be monitored by Town of Banff Municipal Enforcement officers while on regular patrol, as well as enforcement based on complaints. However, due to the many visitors from other jurisdictions, the primary approach will be notification and education to ensure compliance. The RCMP are also able to enforce. Anyone smoking in public could be subject to a $250 fine. Fines start at $150 for littering in the town site.
This new bylaw does not affect the ceremonial use of tobacco through Indigenous practices.
The Town of Banff will develop a downloadable template for businesses that may want to place signage on their private property to help alert people about the restricted areas, such as smoking on a sidewalk, especially beside patios and open shopfronts. Businesses can register to receive an email/text notice from the Town’s business e-newsletter when the material is ready at http://bit.ly/3ZLNHdR
Ashtrays will remain in locations where smoking is prohibited, but they will include messaging about the new bylaw, and encourage smokers to put out their cigarettes. This will prevent littering and reinforce that smoking is banned in most public places.
“There was a time when smoking was allowed in stores and restaurants,” DiManno said. “We’ve learned a lot since then about the dangers of second-hand smoke, and limiting smoking in Banff, where we can have 30,000 people per day in a two-block area, is a further way to protect our residents and visitors.”
Jan. 15-21 is National Non-smoking Week, a time when activities are aimed at preventing youth and young adults from starting to use tobacco products and help existing tobacco consumers to quit or limit their intake.
Les Hagen, Executive Director of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH Canada), expressed support for further restrictions on smoking when Banff Town Council was developing a new bylaw.
“We congratulate Town Council for its strong leadership in creating a non-smoking norm in Banff,” said Hagen after the bylaw passed. “The impact of this public health bylaw extends way beyond town boundaries and will send a healthy smoke-free message to over four million visitors annually. Children and youth deserve first-class protection from public smoking and vaping and Banff is delivering. We encourage all Canadian municipalities to follow Banff’s lead.”
Learn more about the Smoke Free Public Places Bylaw – Bylaw 467, at banff.ca/SmokeFree