Please read below or download frequently asked questions on why implement a smoke-free bylaw.
Does outdoor smoke affect health?
There is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke. It contains over 4,000 chemicals, 70 of which are known to cause cancer. Every year, more than 800 Canadians who don’t smoke die from second-hand smoke.
Researchers at Stanford University examined particles in outdoor smoke under various conditions and found that people near outdoor smokers can breathe in smoke at significantly higher concentrations than normal background air pollution levels. They also found that depending on air conditions, outdoor smoke exposure within 0.5m from a single cigarette source is comparable to indoor levels of smoke exposure.
Research conducted by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit measured fine particulate matter in an outdoor patio courtyard before and after smoking occurred. Findings indicated the level of fine particulate matter increased to ‘very poor’ conditions rapidly upon lighting up a cigarette. Depending on air conditions, the second-hand smoke did not dissipate until 9 meters from its source. This is concerning when considering the amount of exposure a restaurant server might be exposed to in an 8 hour shift.
In addition to protecting the public, what are the other benefits of smoke-free outdoor places?
Provides positive role modelling
Since most smokers start before the age of 18, it is important to model healthy behaviours. Youth who do not see adults smoking or vaping will be less likely to view these as normal social behaviors and, thereby, are less likely to start themselves.
Increases motivation for smokers to quit or cut back
Smokers tend to respond to smoking restrictions by cutting back or quitting. The majority (79%) of Saskatchewan residents do not smoke. Of those who do, two-thirds want to and are looking for tools to help them. Several studies have shown that when smoking bans have been implemented, smokers have chosen to quit or cut back, and that smoke-free patio regulations may help former smokers avoid relapse.
Protects the environment and reduces litter
Prohibiting smoking in outdoor locations will reduce the number of discarded butts. A 2013 litter audit for the City of Edmonton found that cigarette butts accounted for 44% of all small litter.
Reduces fire risk
Smoking, particularly in wooded areas, increases the risk of fire. An outdoor smoking bylaw may reduce this risk by controlling the places where smoking is allowed.
Will banning smoking on patios of restaurants and bar patios hurt business?
No. Seven provinces and at least 44 municipalities including Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville have adopted laws to prohibit smoking on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars. To date, none have reported a negative impact as a result of the ban. Virtually every objective, peer-reviewed study using official sales tax data, demonstrates that smoke-free bylaws and legislation have no adverse impact on restaurant, bar, hotel and tourism receipts and may even be good for business. ,
The vast majority of people in Saskatchewan do not smoke. Restaurant and bar owners who have invested in patios can rest assured that their investments will still be used by non-smoking patrons wanting to enjoy themselves outdoors. Patios may even be used more frequently because patrons will no longer have to worry about avoiding second-hand smoke.
Businesses that have voluntarily banned smoking on their patios reported no drop in business. In fact some say they are busier because they promote a smoke-free environment.
How will outdoor smoke-free regulations be enforced?
An effective compliance strategy should include a balance of education, signage, voluntary compliance, inspection, and progressive enforcement. Communities such as Kelowna, Woodstock, Pemberton, and Bridgewater have shared strategies they’ve successful employed.
The key to compliance is education. People who understand the restrictions and why they are in place will be more likely to comply, and to speak up, encouraging others to comply. Evaluations have found the fear of compliance issues exceeds the number of actual problems.
What is the cost of adopting a smoke-free bylaw?
A 2014 study of 37 municipalities in Ontario with outdoor smoke-free bylaws found outdoor smoke-free bylaws have not created significant burdens on municipal enforcement staff or on municipal budgets. The implementation, promotion, and enforcement of Ontario bylaws have required municipal staff time and in most cases promotional costs, but these have come from existing budgets and using existing staff.
Does the public support outdoor smoke-free legislation?
The majority of Saskatchewan residents support laws to protect the public from second-hand smoke, according to a 2013 Angus Reid poll conducted on behalf of Canadian Cancer Society.
• 70% supported a ban on smoking on all outdoor patios at restaurants and bars
• 91% supported a ban in all children’s playgrounds
• 77% support a ban on municipal property used for public gatherings
• 87% support a ban in bleachers or fixed seating
Why should the use of electronic cigarettes be banned where smoking is banned?
Electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) are battery operated devices that contain an electronic or battery-powered heating element capable of vapourizing an e-substance (or “e-juice”) for inhalation or release into the air. E-cigarettes are available in over 8,000 different flavours and are marketed to appeal to youth and non-smokers.
Existing evidence shows that e-cigarette aerosol is not merely "water vapour" as is often perceived. The e-cigarette industry is largely unregulated and there are many different brands containing a variety of ingredients, including nicotine. Safety concerns have been raised for both users and those who are exposed to e–cigarette vapours. Many municipalities – including Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville have banned the use of e-cigarettes wherever smoking is banned.
It’s important to note that e-cigarettes are particularly appealing to youth and young adults with one in five of them having used the devices at least once. We need to be consistent and smart about where these products can be used. Many people, especially children, cannot distinguish between cigarette smoke and e-cigarette vapor when they see someone exhaling a cloud of smoke or vapor. For clean air, the use of both products needs to be prohibited in public places.
Why should water pipes be banned?
Surveys have found that the use of water pipes is rapidly increasing among youth and young adults. Water pipes use charcoal bricks to heat smoking products that are typically flavoured, and may or may not contain nicotine. These pipes are frequently used communally with a mouth piece for inhalation passed between people. A 2013 Canadian study found that the air in hookah cafes and patios is hazardous to human health, particularly to café staff that is regularly exposed for long periods. Several Canadian cities including Warman and Martensville have restricted the use of water pipes in their smoke-free bylaws, taking the widely supported stance that smoking of any kind should be prohibited in public places.
Aren’t smoking bans a provincial responsibility?
All levels of government have a responsibility to implement laws that protect people’s health. Across Canada and right here in Saskatchewan municipalities including Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville have shown leadership by adopting comprehensive outdoor smoking bylaws.
Municipal bylaws set the standard for provincial legislation and motivate provincial governments to take action. That happened here in Saskatchewan. The first indoor smoking bylaws were adopted the municipalities of Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Saskatoon and Humboldt. Because of their leadership, the provincial government followed suit shortly after and banned smoking in all public indoor places province-wide.
 Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: Impact of Laws on children’s risk of becoming smokers: Smoke Free Laws Encourage Smokers to Quit and Discourage Youth from Starting. 2014. http://www.tobaccofreekids.org/research/factsheets/pdf/0198.pdf
 Smoke Free Nova Scotia: Bridgewater Smoke Free Spaces Survey. 2010. http://www.smokefreens.ca/site-media/documents/rpt-smoke-free-nova-scotia-bw-outdoor-spaces-study.pdf