Clean Air Bylaw will begin issuing fines for vaping, tobacco and cannabis in Victoria’s public spaces.
As cannabis legalization is a mere 16 days away, Oct. 1 also brings new rules for smoking (any substance) in Victoria’s public spaces.
The Clean Air Bylaw in the Capital Regional District was amended in April to including vaping and smoking marijuana on the same level as smoking tobacco in public spaces. In Victoria, people will not be able to smoke or vape tobacco, vape juice or marijuana in public areas like parks, beaches and playgrounds or within seven metres of doorways, windows, bus stops or air intakes. It includes outside patios where drinks and food are served.
In September, CRD began issuing warning tickets for the new, more general bylaw. Now, $100 fines will follow as of Oct. 1.
Dr. Richard Stanwick, who works with Island Health, said, “The intent of the bylaw is to provide clean air to the general public. People say this is restricting the rights of other people. Well, the right actually is to clean air… We’re not stopping you from engaging in it, what we’re doing is specifying where it can’t be done.
“Adults have the right to make their own decisions. What we really want to make sure is the public makes an informed decision,” Stanwick said.
There are several health concerns behind the bylaw. Because cannabis isn’t a legal substance yet, Stanwick said there isn’t much data available on the benefits and risks of marijuana smoke. What they do know is, like alcohol, there is a psychoactive effect from ingesting (or inhaling) marijuana. Cannabis smoke can also restrict airways and blood vessels. Then there are the cancer-causing agents in the smoke, in which Stanwick said a California study found 33 substances classified as carcinogens.
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