Kelowna council says no to tougher smoking rules

Council rejects a call for banning smoking on outdoor restaurant patios.

Kelowna’s mayor says his council feels the city has gone about as far as it can with rules limiting smoking in public places — for now.

Walter Gray said despite council being asked by the B.C. Heart and Stroke Foundation and the B.C. Lung Association to ban smoking on restaurant patios, he and his council rejected the request, instead choosing to ask restaurants if they want the city to take another look at current municipal anti-smoking rules.

“Council seems to be generally satisfied it has gone as far as it needs to,” Gray said, adding the city has gone further than provincial law requires in some cases.

In recent years, the city has banned smoking in public parks and on beaches unless there is a designated smoking area set up, allows smoking only in designated areas at Kelowna’s airport and has made the distance from doorways where smoking is allowed farther than the provincial regulations. That is in addition to provincial rules that make it illegal to smoke in most public, indoor places.

He noted that the city’s new rules to get tough on smokers only came into effect eight months ago and the city has yet to study their impact.

He said if the restaurants come back and feel the city should look at the issue of smoking on patios, it will do so. But he agreed, that is unlikely.

He said many restauranteurs already feel there is too much regulation on their businesses as it is.

But the mayor did not rule out council revisiting the idea of even more stringent smoking rules in future.

He said he expected the issue will likely be looked again in a year’s time.

In addition to banning smoking on outdoor restaurant patios, the heart and stroke foundation and the lung association asked for smoking bans at bus shelters, within 7.5 metres of all doorways, windows and air intakes, as well as public patios and bus shelters and the removal of designated smoking areas in public parks.