Edmonton mayoral candidate Don Koziak says the city should revisit what he calls its “failed experiment” to ban smoking inside public spaces.
In a news release Thursday, Koziak compared the prohibition on indoor smoking to the prohibition on alcohol in the United States in the 1920s and ’30s.
“Koziak related the 13 years of alcohol prohibition in the U.S. to our 13-year prohibition on indoor smoking as a ‘failed experiment,’ ” the news release said.
The city should consult with mechanical engineers, Koziak said, to determine “what level of ventilation is required in order to mitigate the smoke in some indoor areas.
“Business owners who are prepared to spend the money in order to meet those ventilation requirements could then be certified and have the option of allowing smoking in designated areas,” he said in the release. “In this way some restaurants and bars and patios who want will be able to accommodate smoking clients.”
He also suggested that “the top 10 rows of Commonwealth Stadium could be smoking-friendly and keep the patrons from having to exit the outdoor stadium for a quick puff.”
Koziak said his thinking on smoking is influenced by the federal government’s plans to legalize marijuana in 2018.
The provincial government’s Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act, which came into effect Jan. 1, 2006, prohibits smoking in all public places and workplaces.
In July 2003, Edmonton banned smoking in public places that permit minors, including restaurants, billiard halls and bowling alleys. Bowling alleys and casinos were allowed to have designated smoking rooms. Smoking was also banned on outdoor patios.
Two years later, the ban was extended to include total restrictions at all establishments including bars, bingo halls and casinos. No designated smoking rooms were permitted.
In October 2015, Edmonton banned the use of electronic cigarettes in all public spaces where smoking is prohibited.