Smoking bylaw gets first reading

Ban would target restaurants and coffee shops, but not bars



Iqaluit’s smoking bylaw, which bans smoking from public places frequented by minors, received first reading at this week’s city council meeting.

The capital city doesn’t have a smoking bylaw in its books, other than one that makes it illegal to smoke in municipal buildings and taxis. About 64 per cent of people across the territory smoke, but among youth aged 15 to 19, the number rises to 75 per cent.

A telephone survey conducted in September of 500 random households in Iqaluit showed there was significant public support for a smoking ban in public places.

Respondents favoured a ban on smoking in public entranceways and establishments that allow minors, or whose primary business is food and beverage service, like restaurants and coffee shops.

The bylaw does not ban smoking in drinking establishments, such as the bars at the Frobisher and the Navigator Inns, and private establishments, such as the Royal Canadian Legion, Elks and Frobisher Bay Racquet Club.

But those huddling in office doorways will have to venture further out in the cold when the bylaw takes effect, as smoking will be banned within 10 metres of any public entranceway.

Rick Butler, the city’s chief administrative officer, suggested April 15 as a target date and said bylaw officers will come up with an enforcement strategy to make sure the rules are being followed.

A number of Iqaluit restaurants and coffee shops have already instituted a smoke-free environment, while others offer smoking sections for their clientele who prefer not to butt out.

Council has indicated it would like to move toward a 100 per cent smoking ban in all public places, including private drinking establishments. But the business community in Iqaluit has raised some concerns about such a move.

To implement a complete smoking ban, the territorial government would have to enact a tobacco law and the city would have to pass a new or amended bylaw outlining the further restrictions.

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