Hampstead, Quebec may soon have the most restrictive anti-smoking rules in Canada.
Last Monday, the town of Hampstead, near Montreal, adopted a draft by-law at it’s town council meeting that, if passed, will ban smoking of any kind in all public spaces within the municipality.
“We are banning smoking in public in Hampstead,” according to the homepage of the town’s website. “Once marijuana becomes legal, smoking it will also be banned in public spaces.”
The draft by-law prohibits smoking anything on all municipal property including “parks, streets, sidewalks, municipal vehicles, municipal buildings, and land adjacent to such buildings”.
It forbids smoking “tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, pipes” as well as “all other products or substances, vegetable or chemical, that can be smoked by any instrument.”
The prohibition does not include e-cigarettes; the by-law states that they are exempt, but that provincial laws will continue to regulate the use of e-cigarettes.
“You could still smoke on your own lawn in your backyard,” the mayor of the town, William Steinberg told the CBC, and added that the bylaw would also not prohibit smoking in cars.
He said that though it was the Canadian legalization of marijuana that triggered the by-law proposal, “It’s really for all types of second-hand smoke.”
About the By-Law
The fine will be between $100 to $300 for a first infraction and between $200 to $600 thereafter.
The draft by-law invokes the Municipal Powers Act, which gives the town the power to act in the areas of “environment, nuisances, peace, order, good government” and “the general welfare of its citizens” with the ability “to prescribe prohibitions.”
Hampstead is planning to act on that basis.
The town, with a current population of just over 7000, is originally based on the “Garden City” concept. According to the town’s website, “The Garden City is a conceptual framework that aims at establishing an idyllic suburb community.” It was meant to be a step closer to country living for the residents, who would typically have more green space surrounding their properties.
While the town’s background may have influenced it’s stance on smoking, it is possible the greater context of Quebec also has had an influence, as Quebec already has relatively strict smoking laws compared with other parts of the country.
The mayor expects the by-law to be passed, according to the CBC, at the next council meeting.