Vancouver Parks Board considering banning smoking in parks, in playgrounds, and at beaches

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NorthReport
Vancouver Parks Board considering banning smoking in parks, in playgrounds, and at beaches

+_+

NorthReport

Great idea, but what about weed? Wink

 

Smoking ban floated for Vancouver parks, beaches

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/british-columbia/story/2010/04/07/bc-vancouver-...

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Vancouver a.k.a. "No-Fun City" already bans open alcohol containers on beaches: a stupid, puritan and shortsighted move. Worse, it's a bylaw the enforce. City with a dozen beaches but no booze, no frisbee, no campfires, no weed and now--no tobacco. What a bunch of teetotaling idiots.

Michelle

I don't think you're allowed to have open alcohol outside in Ontario either.

No frisbee?

NorthReport

A lot of problems were reduced by shutting down liquor stores at an early hour during the recent Olympics. Unfortunately there are too many alcoholics in Canada who are unable to control their drinking, with the resulting rowdiness, which can ruin it for the rest of the folks.

 

Snert Snert's picture

I'm not sure why it has to.  Why not just crack down on the specific behaviours that alcohol is presumed to promote?

I mean, I know the actual answer -- we're Canadian, so we still tsk-tsk at drinking -- but if we wanted to we could certainly tolerate an open bottle of beer for those responsible enough to drink it without having to punch a mailbox or urinate in a flower bed.  I would agree, though, that pretty much any time a normal adult behaviour is severely restricted, it'll be because some immature asshat couldn't handle the responsibility and had to ruin it for the rest.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I can deal with someone drinking a beer on the playground better than somebody smoking on the playground.  Lovely ciggie butts for the small ones to play with in the sandbox, a faceful of allergen should the wind shift.  Just awesome.  Can't imagine why anybody'd want to outlaw it.

Michelle

Yeah, like Timebandit, I'm not altogether unhappy with a smoking ban in parks either.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

NorthReport wrote:

A lot of problems were reduced by shutting down liquor stores at an early hour during the recent Olympics. Unfortunately there are too many alcoholics in Canada who are unable to control their drinking, with the resulting rowdiness, which can ruin it for the rest of the folks.

 

Lets ban alcohol altogether. After all anyone with addiction problems is a criminal and should be treated as such, right NorthRetort 

Michelle

Yeah, I noticed that part of his post too.  WTF?

conrad yablonski

Quote:
Vancouver a.k.a. "No-Fun City" already bans open alcohol containers on beaches: a stupid, puritan and shortsighted move. Worse, it's a bylaw the enforce. City with a dozen beaches but no booze.....

The letter of the law and the application are two (2) different things-In Fact open consumption of booze on the City of Vancouver's beaches is commonplace and police never sniff anyone's glass and only check a party if there's been a legitimate complaint.

 

I imagine a smoking ban would be quite similar-Note that Sydney Australia beaches are non smoking-have been for years now- and Tofino BC is thinking of making their parks non-smoking

VanGoghs Ear

I saw a documentary on Joe Strummer - and he was quoted as saying the people behind smoking bans should be banned themselves from enjoying any art created by smokers - whether novels, paintings,  songs or any other damn thing.

Snert Snert's picture

Was the documentary shot when Strummer was 12?  Because that sounds like 12 year old thinking.

VanGoghs Ear

No

Those aren't his exact words.  But his point is that - we all know the negatives of smoking but there were positive effects as well - they are a stimulant and the effect smoking (as well as coffee drinking) has had on creative people and the fruits of their labour has been very great.

VanGoghs Ear

Yr obviously not an artist - Snert

VanGoghs Ear

btw  - I'm not a tobacco smoker and I don't like breathing it second hand much either - but i get his point

Snert Snert's picture

Well, I'm in favour of sex.   Many of the world's great artists and thinkers have been people who had sex, or people who were the result of others having sex.  Still doesn't mean I want to go to the park and see people having sex.  I'm OK with restricting where people are allowed to have sex.

VanGoghs Ear

not the same at all - and I personally don't mind smoking bans  - take it up with Joe's ghost

conrad yablonski

Strummer would never have liked it here-too much fresh air.

p-sto

This some how reminds of a faction of Toronto's skateboarding community.  As things stand bylaws prohibit skateboarding in the streets, however this bylaw is rarely inforced.  As a result many Toronto skateboarders are aware that when riding in the streets we must do so with responsibility and respect because if we give a reason for these bylaws to be enforced by skating like assholes we could lose our ability to ride in the city.

Perhaps I simply don't know enough smokers to see it happening but one wonders why a stronger smoking etiquette isn't arising from increased legislation limiting people's ability to smoke.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

conrad yablonski wrote:
The letter of the law and the application are two (2) different things-In Fact open consumption of booze on the City of Vancouver's beaches is commonplace and police never sniff anyone's glass and only check a party if there's been a legitimate complaint.

That has not been my experience, particularly on crowded beaches and on holidays. Police walk down the middle of the beaches in their military-esque, secret service uniforms openly looking for beverage containers. I'm saying that open alcohol should be legal, and certainly not policed like this. In Victoria, if you have a baby with you there is no bar that will serve you, even in the middle of the day. And I'm not talking about divey taverns and hole-in-the-walls (my venues of choice)--I'm talking about high street pubs and restaurants with bars.

In Europe, it's not uncommon to order a drink at midnight with a toddler sitting on the bar beside you. What's the big deal?

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Perhaps I simply don't know enough smokers to see it happening but one wonders why a stronger smoking etiquette isn't arising from increased legislation limiting people's ability to smoke.

 

If our culture were such that 50 years ago nearly every Hollywood star skateboarded, if doctors prescribed skateboarding to relax, if it were legal to skateboard nearly everywhere then I would expect skateboarders in 2010 to exhibit much of the vestigal sense of entitlement that so many smokers do today.

 

I'm old enough to remember when it was legal to smoke in a movie theatre, when the staff room door at our public school had a veil of thick blue smoke curling up from the floor at recess, and when you could even smoke on an airplane. Smokers don't seem to want to let go of that freedom.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I remember when the big perk in grade 13 for being a "monitor" was that you got a smoking lounge in the school and didn't have to go outside in the winter.

I think that people should not smoke n the presence of others without the others permission. I have always thought that discretion is the best approach to alcohol in public. I would never have a drink in a container that looked like a booze container and I have never had a problem no matter how many police have walked by.  I am far more concerned with our police harassing poor people in our public places than I am with them harassing people for drinking and smoking.  

p-sto

Well I suppose that lacking any polite consideration from smokers we'll be seeing many more hard rules coming into place.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Yr obviously not an artist - Snert

I am, and I concur with Snert. 

al-Qa'bong

Quote:

In Europe, it's not uncommon to order a drink at midnight with a toddler sitting on the bar beside you. What's the big deal?

I once bought a beer, on a hot summer day, from a Chinese mom & pop store in Brittany.  I sat on the curb, sipping away, checking out Place du Bouffay, the square that once was the site of the guillotine, when I saw a couple of flics walking in my direction.  I naturally felt uneasy, as open liquor is a sin where I'm from , but the coppers walked right on by without paying me any attention.

VanGoghs Ear

Timebandit - you mean you think Joe Strummer's rant on Smoking sounds like a 12 yr old

I guess I thought I could understand his sentiment as a creative person even though I'm a non smoker.  You'd have to admit that smoking has had a big effect on 19th and 20th century life - not all of it negative.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7n62wjBUhZk

I'm not saying all artists need an artificial stimulant - just that it has a very long and storied history.  My namesake indulged in the drinking of absinthe, and I think he puffed on a pipe as well - did it make a difference - probably in someway - even if only the romantic way.

 

Bacchus

And many of the worlds greatest writers and artists has severe addiction issues or mental problems. So?

VanGoghs Ear

So does everybody? What's your point?  I thought we were talking about smoking.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I would like to see the city passing a by-law requiring all places that sell cigarettes to display and sell portable ashtrays.  I am far more worried about the toxic bombs that the filters become for birds than second hand smoke effects on humans. Butts are the biggest pollution problem on the beaches here and in most places.  

conrad yablonski

Quote:
Police walk down the middle of the beaches in their military-esque, secret service uniforms openly looking for beverage containers.

 

Funny I thought secret service was all about being secretive/under the radar/discrete/hidden.

 

And Yes if you have an open bottle they'll fine you-if you're drinking from a glass they ignore you-that's what I was talking about and that's the deal.

 

And who takes a baby into a bar anyway?

NorthReport

Something's working here.

Smoking ban sparks drop in hospitalization, study finds

 

http://www.healthzone.ca/health/newsfeatures/article/794281--smoking-ban...

NorthReport

It could soon be illegal for smokers to light up at Vancouver beaches.

Polly B Polly B's picture

kropotkin1951 wrote:

I would like to see the city passing a by-law requiring all places that sell cigarettes to display and sell portable ashtrays.  I am far more worried about the toxic bombs that the filters become for birds than second hand smoke effects on humans. Butts are the biggest pollution problem on the beaches here and in most places.  

 

Unfortunately I think then you'd just be stepping over portable ashtray litter.  The same mind that thinks it's okay to drop their butts on the ground or leave them in the sand is probably not going to be overly conscientious about the rest of the garbage they leave lying about.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Polly B wrote:

Unfortunately I think then you'd just be stepping over portable ashtray litter.  The same mind that thinks it's okay to drop their butts on the ground or leave them in the sand is probably not going to be overly conscientious about the rest of the garbage they leave lying about.

I'm and ex-smoker and have hung out with many smokers in my time.  I was never a butt dropper and butt dropping bugged me to no end because most smokers I knew were not litter bugs, except for butts.   I never did and still don't understand the disconnect by people who would go out of their way to find a trashcran or recycle bin for everything else except for butts.  It was one of those mysteries that I never figured out.  I think though that it is some sort of cultural thing.  I wasn't the only one who noticed it either.  At one time in my job I met and worked with many people from Japan (mostly tourists). Many were smokers and I'd say a good ninety percent of those smokers all carried portable ashtrays and were very conscientious about using them.  There were all sorts of different kinds and styles of them too.  Many of them were quite appalled at all the butt dropping they saw going on because they just didn't understand a people that regularly used trashcans but just dropped butts willy nilly.  

I guess what I'm saying is that for some reason many minds who think it's okay to drop butts aren't necessarily minds who think it's okay to drop any garbage anywhere.  It's a weird disconnect.      I wish the portable ashtray culture would come into vogue here.   It still puzzles me why it hasn't yet.   

 

As for the beach ban and park issue I'm all for it for the butt reason alone.  There is nothing more disgusting then going to a beach and having to debutt a place for your towel.  Plus it costs money to clean the damn things up all the time.

Vansterdam Kid

This is a perfect example of Mommy and Daddy politics where politicians play to prudes who are obsessed with the behaviour of others. While there's certain behaviour that should be frowned on with social disapproval some of these laws go too far.

What is one going to do, phone the police if someone decides to light up cigarette in a playground? Yeah it's rude, but putting a law on it is silly. It would simply make more sense to do nothing, or just hand out tickets if you want to make money off of it. For fucks sake, parks and beaches are well ventilated places by definition of them being outdoors. People aren't going to be saved from dying of cancer because of this waste of time and even if they are I think people have the right to kill themselves slowly if they want to. Everyone knows smoking causes Cancer and it's not as if it's something that needs to be re-enforced.

Rudeness, ie. cigarette butt littering, or smoking on a playground around children, or drunks peeing in an ally, is not something that can or even should be stomped out with legality and treating adults like children. Rudeness is a social issue not a legal one and I don't think smoking in a park has crossed the line into public nuisance territory. I'm not a smoker, but I just find this ridiculous. What exactly is the point of it if it isn't a form of pointless social engineering? I don't think it saves money, especially if they have to spend more money paying the police to patrol for smokers in addition to drinkers. Then again, coming from a government that's decided to put $20,000 towards a homeless shelter for abandoned Chickens, while the homeless people problem gets worse, I'm not surprised.

conrad yablonski wrote:

Quote:
Vancouver a.k.a. "No-Fun City" already bans open alcohol containers on beaches: a stupid, puritan and shortsighted move. Worse, it's a bylaw the enforce. City with a dozen beaches but no booze.....

The letter of the law and the application are two (2) different things-In Fact open consumption of booze on the City of Vancouver's beaches is commonplace and police never sniff anyone's glass and only check a party if there's been a legitimate complaint.

 

I imagine a smoking ban would be quite similar-Note that Sydney Australia beaches are non smoking-have been for years now- and Tofino BC is thinking of making their parks non-smoking

 

As for your assertion regarding drinking on beaches, I disagree. It could be two in the morning and you could be quiet but if you're a group of people the Police will still ask if you have any liquor as they patrol the beaches protecting the good burghers from the possibility of fun on a summer night. Of course smart people simply pour their liquor into another container that doesn't look like it's necessarily booze, but nonetheless that's *gasp* still illegal and the atmosphere of puritanism pervades Vancouver (or all of Anglo North America, really).

It's the same attitude with by-laws restricting the building of neighbourhood pubs. Everytime one wants to open outside of the designated areas City Council kowtows to local "think of the children!" Nimby's and denies them a primary liquor licence. Or should they actually manage to get a primary liquor licence, which usually runs you a few hundred thousand dollars (compared to a few hundred dollars in a place like Portland), nearly all of them have to close at midnight! I mean heaven forbid someone want to drink a beer in their own neighbourhood past midnight, without buying food. Oh the humanity! Society would collapse and we would all become drunks! Look, if you treat people like children they act like children. The public ban on drinking alcohol tends to encourage those who want to have a drink on the beach or in a park to just drink hard liquor since it's more easily concealable than Beer or Wine.

Catchfire wrote:

That has not been my experience, particularly on crowded beaches and on holidays. Police walk down the middle of the beaches in their military-esque, secret service uniforms openly looking for beverage containers. I'm saying that open alcohol should be legal, and certainly not policed like this. In Victoria, if you have a baby with you there is no bar that will serve you, even in the middle of the day. And I'm not talking about divey taverns and hole-in-the-walls (my venues of choice)--I'm talking about high street pubs and restaurants with bars.

Exactly!

Oh and North Report, as for closing the liquor stores downtown early, what a joke. You can't be serious if you thought that was effective. Maybe in discouraging tourists who were too cheap to go to a pub and think that Vancouver ends at False Creek from getting drunk, but not the locals who flooded downtown. Few locals were stupid enough to buy alcohol from a non-government liquor store downtown (even ignoring the nearly criminal markup at these places), seeing as they'd often have lineups stretching halfway down the block, especially during a Men's Hockey game. It doesn't take a lot of effort to cross a bridge and buy it somewhere else, especially if you don't live downtown (like the vast majority of people). Jeez, if you think that worked, why don't you propose we ban people from Surrey from coming downtown? Most Vancouverites blamed the rowdiness on "people from Surrey" (or Langley, etc). I heard many an anecdote about how people acting like louts said they "did it in Surrey" so it was okay if they did it downtown too. No joke, btw. Though of course banning people from certain places coming downtown isn't a serious proposal.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

VanKid you seem to have missed the point I and others are making. Its the butts taht are the main problem not just the second hand smoke.  The cleanup on Vancouver's beaches confirm that like other places in the world the most littered items on beaches are butts.  Butts are literally toxic bombs to birds.  The filters are designed to catch tar and nicotine and the other myriad of chemicals that the package says are released when smoking occurs.  These plastic tar receptacles persist on a beach for over a decade and if eaten by a bird they will often kill.   

In other parts of the world people don't believe they have some inalienable right to foul the nest that we all live in.  So is it libertarian to pollute your neighbours nest and a nanny state if we decide as a community to tell people they must respect our commons?

Quote:

• Cigarette butts, the single most littered item in America, is composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! An estimated 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.

p-sto

 

So that's a portable ashtray. Cheap, durable looking, keeps the city clean. Not once in my life have a seen a person use one. Until reading this thread I didn't even know that such a thing was on the market. May pick one up later this week.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
Cigarette butts, the single most littered item in America

 

So then presumably cigarette smokers are the most prolific litterers in America.

p-sto

Instead of banning smoking from certain spaces would it be a preferable compromise to inforce littering fines against people who drop butts.  Surely anyone who can afford a smoking habit can afford a $10 portable ashtray to avoid the fine.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

I agree that centuries of entitlement have skewed socially desirable etiquette for smokers. And I suppose practicalities of policing make it unlikely that smoker littering will ever be effectively curtailed. But why don't we have public campaigns to address butt littering? It's a much better idea than policing pleasure--particularly working-class pleasure.

I also acknowledge the health risks that have come to the forefront in the past couple of decades, but eventually we're just going to have to admit as a society that some of us like to do things that are bad for us (I don't smoke, but my body is hardly a temple--it just looks like one), and will continue to pay the price for the ability to do them.

Vansterdam Kid

kropotkin1951 wrote:

VanKid you seem to have missed the point I and others are making. Its the butts taht are the main problem not just the second hand smoke.  The cleanup on Vancouver's beaches confirm that like other places in the world the most littered items on beaches are butts.  Butts are literally toxic bombs to birds.  The filters are designed to catch tar and nicotine and the other myriad of chemicals that the package says are released when smoking occurs.  These plastic tar receptacles persist on a beach for over a decade and if eaten by a bird they will often kill.   

In other parts of the world people don't believe they have some inalienable right to foul the nest that we all live in.  So is it libertarian to pollute your neighbours nest and a nanny state if we decide as a community to tell people they must respect our commons?

Quote:

• Cigarette butts, the single most littered item in America, is composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic that can persist in the environment for 10-12 years! An estimated 4.5 trillion non-biodegradable cigarette butts are littered worldwide.

Yes, in some other parts of the world people get cained, flogged and jailed for littering. I suppose we should adopt the Singapore approach too, afterall it is in the greater good, isn't it? The birds, the birds, won't somebody think of the birds?!?!

Look, it would be one thing to hand out fines to people who are caught in the act of littering (I suppose that the cost of enforcement are less than the ecological cost), or smoking sans a portable ash tray, but banning it completely including giving police the right to intimidate people and force them to butt out? Yeah, I stand by calling this Mommy and Daddy aka Nanny State politics. Frankly, it's one of the cliches that some on the left have and are completely blind to and it contradicts the left's non-judgemental views on lifestyle choices (etc). It's one of our biggest weaknesses because it's a complete waste of time pretending that this is a moral crusade to get behind. It makes us look ridiculous since it's a form of crying wolf when there are actual issues to pursue and evils to tackle. And if that makes me a vile libertarian to point it out, just pass me some ciggies while I watch South Park.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

VanK I never advocated for a total ban in the parks on smoking because I think it is unenforceable.  I think there should be awareness campaigns and yes even enforcement of our current littering laws.

The idea that you think you can shit on my doorstep and call it your individual right is the part that bothers me.  We share the common spaces in this world and respect is a necessary component of a civil society.  The attitude that says I will do what ever the fuck I want even if it affects my neighbour has nothing to do with rights and everything to do with a false sense of entitlement.

Vansterdam Kid

Public defecation and smoking aren't the same thing.

Snert Snert's picture

Quote:
 While there's certain behaviour that should be frowned on with social disapproval some of these laws go too far.

 

...

Rudeness, ie. cigarette butt littering, or smoking on a playground around children, or drunks peeing in an ally, is not something that can or even should be stomped out with legality and treating adults like children.

 

While I despair for the adults who need this in order to behave responsibly, the "treating them like children" that you mention ties in nicely with the social disapproval that you mention. Again, it's sad that we should have to, but evidently hoping that an adult sense of responsibility will suddenly kick in isn't really working.

 

Quote:
Public defecation and smoking aren't the same thing.

 

Meh. Different orifice.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

But you still claim the right to foul our parks with some things.  Do you have a list of obnoxious substances you think it is your libertarian right to throw out into the public space or do you merely make it up as you go along based on YOUR PERSONAL preferences.

NorthReport

Have any muncipalities completely banned smoking yet?

Snert Snert's picture

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/british-columbia/vancouver-... unanimously[/url].

 

Quote:
Have any muncipalities completely banned smoking yet?

 

Many years ago Toronto was one of a bunch of municipalities to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Of course bar and restaurant owners assured everyone that they'd be out of business in a month, and yet as I walk down Toronto's streets there appear to be just as many bars and restaurants as ever.

bagkitty bagkitty's picture

p-sto wrote:

So that's a portable ashtray. Cheap, durable looking, keeps the city clean. Not once in my life have a seen a person use one. Until reading this thread I didn't even know that such a thing was on the market. May pick one up later this week.

Trust me, an old Altoids tin works just as well -- and when someone sees you with one open and sidles up to cadge a mint off you, well it is worth the laughs.Wink

p-sto

Good point but given the rise of plastic containers I'm not sure that I have anything lying around that is sufficiently portable and heat resistant.

Snert Snert's picture

Smokers are also free to smoke, stomp it out when done, and pocket the now not-burning butt for appropriate disposal.