City Updating Smoking By-law Before Legalization of Pot

The City of Vernon has updated the Parks and Public Places Bylaw #5057 to prohibit smoking and vaping of any substance in public places in Vernon with the exception of roadways and sidewalks, and designated smoking/vaping areas. The downtown transit exchange and all transit stops are now non-smoking/non-vaping areas. The updated Bylaw designates lake access sites within the City of Vernon as non-smoking/non-vaping areas.

For special events, it will be permissible for businesses and organizations to designate smoking/vaping areas provided they are clearly marked. Permission to provide a smoking/vaping area can be granted when applying for a special event permit.

Signs indicating no smoking/no vaping have been installed in parks and at lake access sites including boat launches. Signs will be installed at the transit stops and transit exchange.

The change is due in part to the pending legalization of recreational cannabis and the fact that the majority of residents do not smoke or vape. A review of the Parks and Public Places Bylaw #5057 provided an opportunity to modernize the definition of smoking to include electronic cigarettes, vaporizers and the recreational use of cannabis.

Vaping involves using a device called a vaporizer to heat a substance to the point where the active ingredient is turned into a vapour, which is inhaled, while the leafy material is not actually burned.

Bylaw officers will be handing out warnings during the roll-out period with the goal of educating people about the updated rules.