Input sought on smoking rules in Calgary
Published Monday, June 17, 2019 10:07AM MDT
Last Updated Monday, June 17, 2019 8:35PM MDT
Should smoking and vaping be banned in Calgary parks and at public events? What about at hotels and motels in the city?
Officials are asking for feedback from the public starting Monday on whether parks and public events should be smoke free, along with hotel and motels in the city.
Another change being considered is banning waterpipe (shisha) smoking at indoor public spaces.
City council directed city administrators in 2018 to look into whether the smoking and vaping bylaws need to be strengthened.
“Over the last few decades Canada’s federal, provincial and municipal rules around smoking have changed a great deal,” said Matt Zabloski, a business strategist with Calgary Community Standards.
Smoking indoors in public places has been banned in Alberta since 2007, but using a hookah, otherwise known as a water pipe, has been allowed.
“In the last decade, extensive research has indicated that shisha smoking is a serious health risk,” said Zablonski.
“As a result, the World Health Organization has recommended that water pipe use be prohibited in public places.”
Zablonski said bans against smoking hookah in public, indoor facilities are already in place in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa and a ban is being debated in Edmonton.
There are currently more than 30 hookah lounges in Calgary.
“Tobacco smoke from water pipe has been linked to the same diseases known to be associated to smoking cigarettes,” said Dr. Brent Friesen, a medical officer of health with Alberta Health Services.
“Studies by the World Health Organization estimate that a single water pipe smoking session is the equivalent of smoking 40 to 100 cigarettes.”
Friesen said testing was done in 18 hookah lounges in Calgary, which found poor air quality in two-thirds of them.
Officials are also asking for input on whether smoking and vaping should be allowed in parks and at public outdoor events.
“This isn’t a cannabis specific motion,” said Zabloski.
Smoking or vaping of cannabis in public is banned in Calgary, but those with a valid prescription are allowed, provided they follow the current smoking and vaping bylaws.
Zablonski said the city is not considering allowing cannabis to be consumed in indoor public spaces.
Smoking of any kind is prohibited at Olympic Plaza.
Once feedback is collected, a report will be sent to city council later this year.