Health officials seek same bylaw as tobacco for vaping and pot smoking

CRD to discuss issue at Wednesday’s meeting

The Capital Regional District’s planning and protective services committee will discuss whether or not publicly smoking cannabis or vaping should be treated with the same bylaw as tobacco at tomorrow’s meeting.

Currently, the bylaw prohibits people from smoking tobacco in any public place, building or structure, in any area where food and drinks are served, within seven metres of any door, window, air intake, bus stop, or at any athletic parks, fields, or playgrounds.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island chief medical health officer, recommends pot smoking and vaping should fall under the same bylaw as tobacco.

“Smoke is smoke, and while tobacco may have 50 established cancer-causing agents, marijuana smoke can have as many as 33. In terms of vaping, it too can carry cancer causing agents, sometimes in greater amounts than tobacco,” said Stanwick.

“I know people want to describe it as merely water vapour, but it isn’t, it’s a chemical soup being put in to the air, varying from product to product. So both cannabis and vape smoke can be hazardous to health.”

Stanwick said now is a good time to discuss this issue, as marijuana is set to be legalized by September this year. He thinks having all forms of smoke falling under the same bylaw would simplify enforcement for both the public and officers.

“This way it would be very simple and straight forward, instead of having to smell the air and say ‘oh that’s smoke is okay here,’ or ‘oh no that smoke isn’t okay in this area,’” said Stanwick.

Once pot is legalized, the province will ban people from smoking at beaches, playgrounds and parks, the same as tobacco, so Stanwick thinks making all smoke fall under the same bylaw would just make things clearer for everyone.

“Once something gets established, it’s harder to stop someone from doing something than to get them used to an idea ahead of time,” said Stanwick. “So now is the time to address this issue, right from the beginning when the education is taking place around what is allowed and what isn’t once marijuana is legalized.”

He added that another advantage to making all types of smoking apply to the same bylaw, is when new products come on the market, they won’t have to be discussed by the CRD.

This approach has already been adopted in places like Vancouver and Port Coquitlam.

“We just want to make sure our bylaw is nice and harmonized, and everyone is aware what is expected of them,” said Stanwick. “It’s this whole idea of striving for simplicity.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A rare Short-eared owl was found dead in a Saanich backyard on Oct. 26 and will be sent for a necropsy to find out if it had ingested rat poison. (Photo courtesy Kimberly Adamec)
Rare owl found dead in Saanich yard to be sent for necropsy

Short-eared owl ‘vulnerable’ in B.C., owl advocate says

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read