Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act - Prescribed Distances

On June 1st of 2015, the Provincial Government of Alberta added new provisions to the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act (the act), which has undergone some significant reform over the past few years, and has been in effect since January 1st, 2008 when it became law.

Albertans across the province are growing increasingly supportive of the act, and as a result, pressure has been put on municipalities and officials to enforce this law in their communities.

Continuing with our education effort to create awareness in the community about the act, we wish to inform the public about prescribed distances from buildings and public facilities where smoking is prohibited. 

Read Smoking In Alberta And In Cardston

Prescribed Distances

Under section 3(d) of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act, smoking is prohibited within a prescribed distance from a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workshop.  According to the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Regulation, "prescribed distance" is defined as follows:

Prescribed distance
1(1)  For the purposes of section 3(d) of the Act, the prescribed distance from a doorway, window or air intake of a public place or workplace is 5 metres.
(2)  For the purposes of section 3(d) of the Act and this section, “window” means a window that can be opened to admit air.

Smoking outside of any public place, if there is a doorway or window within 5m of your physical location, is prohibited under provincial law. This would include standing around the corner from a doorway or window, or sitting inside of a vehicle parked within 5m from a doorway or window. Under Bylaw #1626, the prescribed distance applies to other outdoor facilities including, but not limited to: the outdoor pool, all parks and playgrounds, as well as sports fields. Smoking is prohibited within 5m of the perimeter of these facilities.   

This provincial regulation effectively renders sections of many towns and cities in Alberta completely smoke-free. In business centres for example, where sidewalks are less than 5m wide, and business entrances are less than 10m (32ft) apart, smoking would be prohibited essentially everywhere on the sidewalk, and in many of the parking spaces in front of businesses. Main Street in Cardston is an example of one of these areas where there are very few if any places to stand on the sidewalk or park on the street where smoking is not prohibited under the act. 

Subject to the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act, and the Town of Cardston Bylaw #1626, the Town will be enforcing these laws–as it is required by provincial legislation and by bylaw–in the near future. The laws are currently in effect, and have been for several years, but the Town wishes to take a reasonable amount of time to properly educate the community concerning these laws before they are more strictly enforced.