Delegates representing cities and towns across the province are voting in favour of getting the provincial government to issue a ban on vaping and smoking in public places.
The resolution narrowly passed in a close vote Tuesday at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) convention.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere voted in support of the province-wide ban, which can be looked at as if you can’t smoke there, you can’t vape there.
“We don’t know whether it’s safe or not … until we know that it’s a health issue,” he said.
Fougere has deferred to the province in the past to take the lead on this issue, even though Saskatoon has already passed a bylaw to this extent. He argued smoking is a health issue, which falls under provincial legislation, believing it would be easier for the government to enact change so that there isn’t a patch work of different rules in different areas of Saskatchewan.
Weyburn Mayor and SUMA president Debra Button said they just wanted some consistency for travellers, whether it’s all supporting a ban or all against a ban.
“We’re saying it should be one way or another, but it should be the same,” she said, but added with the voting split maybe that message wasn’t exactly received.
The resolution is something Bakken Vapes Owner Chris Lefonte hoped would be defeated. Obviously, he doesn’t agree with putting new rules surrounding vaping in with smoking legislation.
“The problem with that is it’s much harder to come back. Once you’ve lumped it in with cigarettes, it’s there forever and realistically to repeal something, or a piece of legislation that’s been put in; it’s going to be extremely difficult to do,” Lefonte explained.
He said since there’s no scientific evidence that vaping and second-hand vapour is detrimental to health, like there is with cigarette smoke, it’s really all about perceived harm than actual harm.
“The toxins are barely measurable that are there and much more comparable to air than second-hand cigarette smoke. To make it illegal to vape outdoors, especially in public places, just doesn’t seem right.”
Nonetheless, the supported resolution will now be forwarded to the government of Saskatchewan.