Advocacy group applauds Wood Buffalo smoking / vaping ban

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by Morinville News Staff

Starting July 10, smoking and vaping are prohibited in Fort McMurray, at least in places the public has access to.

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo passed a new bylaw Monday night to ban all forms of smoking and vaping in all public places in preparation for cannabis legalization in October.

Advocacy group Action on Smoking & Health (ASH) applauded the move Tuesday.

“We congratulate Mayor Don Scott and the Regional Council for their unanimous support of this important public health bylaw” said AHS Executive Director Les Hagen. “This bylaw will protect children and youth from exposure to harmful drug use in public places and it will help to keep kids drug-free for life. Healthy modelling helps to create healthy kids. Wood Buffalo has set an example for other municipalities to follow prior to cannabis legalization. We hope that many others will follow suit.”

In anticipation of the new law, a coalition of provincial health and recreation organizations declared the community a Smoke-Free Community last month. Lloydminster and Camrose are also smoke-free communities with respect to their public facilities and municipal vehicles. Edmonton has put in place a 10-metre buffer from the front of buildings and 30 metres in parks and playgrounds. [see update note below]

Provincial restriction on public consumption of cannabis can be found in Alberta’s Cannabis Framework.

Under the framework, smoking or vaping cannabis is prohibited in any place where tobacco is presently prohibited, as well as on any hospital property, school property or child care facility property. Additionally, buffers will be in place for playgrounds, sports fields, skateboard or bicycle parks, zoos, outdoor theatres, and outdoor pool and splash parks.

The Town of Morinville has added cannabis sales to its Land Use Bylaw ahead of legalization; however, it has not yet added anything on cannabis consumption to its existing or new bylaws.

Publisher’s Note: Edmonton Council voted 7-6 Tuesday (after this story was published) to enhance their cannabis and tobacco ban to include parks and Whyte Avenue.

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