A recent poll shows that most people in Regina support a smoking ban on restaurant and bar patios.
Seventy per cent of those polled would support such a bylaw, and several anti-smoking groups are looking to make one happen.
“In Saskatoon, we’ve had smoke-free patios for almost 11 years now, so it’s not surprising to me that people in Regina would want the same thing,” said Natalie Gierman with the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Regina tends to lag behind Saskatoon when it comes to these bylaws. In fact, there is no bylaw stating that you can’t smoke in a children’s playground in Regina. Eighty-nine per cent of those polled support smoke-free playgrounds.
“I think the playground one is really surprising to people, because you know, you see little kids playing and someone’s lighting up a cigarette right beside them,” said Gierman.
Saskatoon city council is voting on a electronic cigarette ban this week, following in the footsteps of Warman and Martensville; both communities adopted a comprehensive outdoor smoke-free bylaw earlier this year.
“The city’s role in terms of banning or restricting products is difficult,” said Regina Mayor Michael Fougere in reference to banning electronic cigarettes. Fougere also spoke about how it isn’t known what effect the vapour, or smoke, from the e-cigs has on people in long term.
As Jennifer Miller, vice-president of health promotion for The Lung Association of Saskatchewan, said, smoke-free spaces benefit the overall health of a community.
“Smoke-free spaces protect the health of the community, while supporting people who have quit or want to quit smoking,” said Miller.
Bylaws restricting smoking on patios could impact workers in the service industry, who are often exposed to second-hand smoke.
Both Gierman and Miller say their respective organizations, along with the Canadian Cancer Society, intend on making a presentation to Regina city council in regards to an outdoor smoking ban.
Across 26 cities studied by the Canadian partnership Against Cancer, Saskatoon had the lowest rate of second-hand smoke exposure. Regina was 16.