Smoking, even if it is outside, puts everyone at risk. Stanford University researchers examined particles in outdoor smoke under various conditions. The study revealed that a person near an outdoor smoker could breathe in wisps of smoke that could be 10s to 100s of times more concentrated than normal background air pollution levels. In fact, depending on air conditions average levels of smoke within half a meter from a single cigarette source are comparable to indoor levels.
Creating smoke-free outdoor spaces protects people — especially children — from second-hand smoke exposure. Research conducted by Statistics Canada shows that when smoking bans have been implemented, smokers have chosen to quit or cut back. It also helps prevent children from thinking smoking is a normal, social activity. If children don’t see adults smoking they are less likely to begin themselves.