On Tuesday, September 30th, Vancouver City Council (acting on a recommendation from staff), amended the Vancouver smoking bylaw in a unanimous vote, to read:
2.2 A person must not smoke or vapourize:
(a) in a building, except in:
(i) a dwelling unit or sleeping unit defined under the Zoning and Development By-law including a dwelling unit in which an owner or occupier also carries on a business,
(ii) a hotel or motel room or suite designated for smoking by a responsible person, or
(iii) enclosed premises:
(A) that are not open to the public,
(B) that are not private clubs or smoking clubs, a purpose of which is to allow patrons, customers, or other persons to smoke, and
(C) where the only occupants are the owner or owners of the business carried on in the premises;
(b) in a vehicle for hire;
(c) on public transit including a school bus, passenger bus, ferry, or rapid transit;
(d) in an enclosed or partially enclosed shelter where people wait to board a vehicle for hire or public transit;
(e) within six metres measured on the ground from a point directly below any point of any opening into any building including any door or window that opens or any air intake;
(f) in a customer service area; or
(g) within six metres of the perimeter of a customer service area.
The new bylaw came into effect immediately.
This means it’s time to find a new alternative way to portray smoking on stage. The options were already pretty limited as this same bylaw;s definitions mean that “smoking includes burning a cigarette or cigar, or burning any substance
using a pipe, hookah pipe, lighted smoking device or electronic smoking device” – and that definition includes herbal cigarettes (which, let’s be honest, smell worse than regular cigarettes).
The only options I have seen used are real cigarettes that are never lit and “puff-puff” cigarettes from joke shops.
I reached out to Actsafe on twitter and they said:
While Vancouver is the first large city in Canada to regulate e-cigs in this way (and only the fourth municipality following Red Deer, Alberta; Innisfil, Ontario; and, Hantsport, Nova Scotia) it is likely that other large Canadian centres won’t be far behind. it’s time to find some better alternatives for smoking on-stage. Have you tried anything that has worked well? Share it in the comments below.
Update #1: When I posted this blog on twitter, the wonderful Matt Frankish (local TD, PM & LD) had a great response that he said was alright to share here:
And he’s right – we would never actually require an actor to stick a needle into themselves – we spend time engineering retractable needles and using sleight of hand to hide what we are doing. There must be options like that for smoking too.
Update #2 – Matt also reminded me that among the violations of the bylaw, a person who ” allows any other person to do any act or thing which violates any provision of this By-law” is also seen as a violation and can be fined anywhere from $250-$10,000. So SMs & TDs & PMs & Directors risk being fined themselves if they allow smoking or vapourizing to occur. (section 3.3/3.4)
Note: I also have an email in to one of the city councillors asking if they have any clarifications in regard to live performances, and have received a response saying that she’s looking into it and will get back to me.