Skip to content

LETTER: Smokers treated like second class citizens

Editor: Banff’s proposed gold standard smoking bylaw reeks like iron pyrite: fool’s gold. Banff attracts people from around the world with different cultures and health practices including smoking percentages. For example, according to research from

Editor:

Banff’s proposed gold standard smoking bylaw reeks like iron pyrite: fool’s gold.

Banff attracts people from around the world with different cultures and health practices including smoking percentages. For example, according to research from the University of Oxford, people 15 years and older who smoke in France is 33.4 per cent, Japan 20.1 per cent and Spain 27.7 per cent of the populations. 

Even Canada has differences, with research showing Alberta has nine per cent of people 15 and older as smokers, Quebec is 12 per cent, and Newfoundland and Labrador is 15 per cent.

To relegate such guests to an alley or parking lot is rude and not welcoming. As well, others will have to walk through a waft of smoke to get to their car. Cigarettes are sold in Banff stores so this bylaw is not only over the top, tyrannical, and inconsiderate but hypocritical as residents benefit from the taxes collected.

Tobacco is addictive like heroin. For hard drug users, safe consumption sites are available in some cities and in hospitals but smokers get treated like third-class citizens.  

I don’t like the smell of cigarettes. I actually have a condition whereby I get lung pain when in the vicinity of cigarette or pot smoke. However, this bylaw stinks of ethnocentrically treating folks with addiction very inhumanely.

We should designate some nice publicly accessible smoking areas that don’t interfere with others’ enjoyment of fresh mountain air. Unfortunately, some may be wary of liability from smokers being exposed to others’ smoke causing a health issue. This should be court-proofed as smokers should know and accept the inherent risks.

Post signs to educate smokers. The jurisdiction responsible needs to ban cigarettes. Pot should only be in edible form – a big goof that contradicted Health Canada. With limits on numbers, these designated areas could be a safe consumption site while the rest of us can walk in parking lots and alleys without secondhand smoke.

Smoking is unpleasant, harmful and a drain on health care, but we still need to treat people with respect and dignity. This is the true gold standard.

James Cook,

Banff