A smoking ban may be on the verge of happening in the city of Orillia, Ontario. The council committee recently recommended that the ban go through, which would apply to any city owned or leased property, both indoors and outdoors.
Councillor Ralph Cipolla, a former smoker himself, says that it’s about time that a ban like this is passed. “No amount is safe… being around second-hand smoke puts you at risk of developing lung cancer and other lung diseases. We spend millions and millions of dollars in our community to make things better for our community…. I think this is a small amount to protect people from dying from lung cancer or any cancer associated with cancer,” the councillor said.
Even though most anti-smokers approve of this ban, the financial burden on the city might be too great for the ban to be feasible. The staff estimate a $70,000 per year cost to hire a new bylaw officer to enforce the smoking ban as well as a vehicle for this officer. Once councillor, Coun. Mason Ainsworth doesn’t think this money should be allocated in the budget yet. “I know we don’t have $70,000 next year to go down this road and I think sending it to budget is just a joke at this point, wasting staff’s time, because we know it’s not going to get put through,” he said.
He also says that the number of actual complaints related to smoking is so low that this measure really isn’t needed. “We need to govern responsibly. The reality is (bylaw enforcement is) stretched too thin as it is. For us to give them something that is pretty much across the entire city, the reality is they’re not going to be able to implement it.” The staff also noted the difficulty of enforcing the bylaw since a cigarette can be easily put out by the time the officer arrives.
Since this ban would affect all vaping, including cannabis vaping, the city might expect some push-back from local cannabis users should this ban go through.