Municipal Election 2016 Smoke-free outdoor spaces

You are here: 

Vote for Health

Kids playing in park

Vote for Health is an initiative aimed at educating municipal, provincial and federal election candidates and the public on important health issues affecting their communities.

Municipal governments play an important role in public health and disease prevention. They have the power to adopt policies that positively affect the health of their citizens. More importantly, they have an obligation to do so.

One of those policies is to restrict smoking in outdoor public places such as playgrounds and sports fields to protect people from second-hand smoke, particularly children.

Hospitality workers also need protection. Allowing people to smoke on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars puts their health at risk by exposing them, in some cases, to dangerous levels of second-hand smoke for long periods of time.

For more than decade, dozens of Canadian municipalities including Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville have adopted comprehensive bylaws that restrict smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes in public spaces both indoors and outdoors.

It is time for other Saskatchewan municipalities to do the same. Public opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of Saskatchewan residents support smoke-free outdoor places.

This municipal election we are urge you to VOTE FOR HEALTH by choosing candidates that support healthy public policies and are willing to act in the best interests of you and your family’s health.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a non-partisan, charitable organization. We do not support or endorse candidates or political parties at any level of government.

  • Why implement a smoke-free bylaw

    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. 

    [1] Canadian Cancer Society: Second-hand smoke.

    [2] Klepeis N, Ott W, Switzer P. Outdoor Tobacco Smoke Study. Stanford University, 2007.

    [3] Ferrence R, Chaiton M. Smoking on Patios: Levels of Exposure, Health Effects and Impact on Behaviour Change. Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 2014.

    [4] 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.

    [6] Shields M. Smoking Bans: Influence on smoking prevalence. Statistics Canada. 2014.

    [7] Kennedy R. Evaluation of the City of Woodstock’s Outdoor Smoking By-law: A Longitudinal Study of Smokers and Non-Smokers. 2010.

    [8] Smoke Free Nova Scotia: Bridgewater Smoke Free Spaces Survey. 2010.  

    [9] Chaiton M, Deimert I, Zhang B, et al. Exposure to smoking on patios and quitting: a population representative longitudinal cohort study. Tob Control. 2014.

    [10] The City of Edmonton 2013 Litter Audit Results Summary.

    [11] KPMG: Economic Impact Analysis of the No-smoking By-Law on the Hospitality Industry in Ottawa. 2001.

    [12] Scollo M, Lal A, Hyland A, Glantz S. Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke-free policies on the hospitality industry. Tobacco Control;12:13–20. 2002

    [13] Plan H: Kelowna’s Citizens Breathe Free in Smoke-free Parks.

    [14] Kennedy R. Evaluation of the City of Woodstock’s Outdoor Smoking By-law: A Longitudinal Study of Smokers and Non-Smokers. 2010.

    [15] Plan H: Pemberton Sets the Bar High with “Gold Standard” Smoking Bylaw. smoking-bylaw

    [16] Smoke Free Nova Scotia: Bridgewater Smoke Free Spaces Survey. 2010.

    [17] Program Training and Consultation Centre: Compliance with and Enforcement of Smoke-Free Outdoor Spaces Bylaws. 2010.

    [18] Kennedy R, Zummach D, Filsinger S, Leatherdale S. Reported municipal costs from outdoor smoke-free by-laws – experience from Ontario, Canada. 2014.

    [20] Government of British Columbia: Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act. 2015.

  • How you can get involved

    During the municipal election campaign this fall, you have an opportunity to make a difference in the health of your community and the fight against cancer.  Here’s how:

    1. When your candidate shows up at your door, ask them about their position on smoke-free outdoor spaces.  Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

    2. Attend an all-candidate meeting and pose a question to all candidates about their stance on smoke-free outdoor space.

    3. Download our handouts and share them with your candidates or others at the meeting.

    Municipal governments are vital in that fight. By creating more a smoke-free places, fewer people are exposed to second-and smoke.  Smoking bylaws also help to change social norms by sending a strong message that tobacco use is unhealthy and undesirable.

    If you support more smoke-free spaces, know where your candidate stand on this issue by checking out our candidate survey.

    Then on election day VOTE FOR HEALTH.

  • What your candidates have to say

    Candidate Survey Results

    We wanted to know whether municipal candidates in Regina, Moose Jaw and Prince Albert would support a bylaw restricting smoking in outdoor public places and banning the use of electronic cigarettes indoors and outdoors where smoking is banned.

    We sent a survey to each candidate and asked for a response no later than October 5, 2016.

    Here are their responses:

    Moose Jaw (summary)  Prince Albert (summary)  Regina (summary)

    Detailed responses:


    Fraser Tolmie


    Heather Eby
    Crystal Froese
    Dawn Luhning
    Scott McMann
    Don Mitchell
    Brian Swanson
    Chris Warren

    Detailed responses:

    Greg Dionne


    Charlene Miller
    Terra Lenox-Zepp 
    Evert Botha
    Don Cody 
    Dennis Ogrodnick
    Blake Edwards
    Dennis Nowoselsky
    Ted Zurakowski

    Detailed responses:


    Michael Fougere

    Barbara Young
    Bob Hawkins
    Andrew Stevens
    Lori Bresciani
    John Findura 
    Joel Murray
    Sharron Bryce
    Michael O’Donnell
    Jason Mancinelli
    Jerry Flegel 



Carol Leuken You can’t travel with Prairie Women on Snowmobiles and not be changed.

Read more

Taking action against all cancers

Icon - question mark

The latest Canadian Cancer Statistics report found that of all newly diagnosed cancers in 2017, half are expected to be lung, colorectal, breast and prostate cancers. Learn what you can do to reduce the burden of cancer.

Learn more