UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Smoking on the margins: a comprehensive analysis of a municipal outdoor smoke-free policy Pederson, Ann; Okoli, Chizimuzo T; Hemsing, Natalie; O’Leary, Renée; Wiggins, Amanda; Rice, Wendy; Bottorff, Joan L; Greaves, Lorraine


Background: This study examined the formulation, adoption, and implementation of a ban on smoking in the parks and beaches in Vancouver, Canada. Methods: Informed by Critical Multiplism, we explored the policy adoption process, support for and compliance with a local bylaw prohibiting smoking in parks and on beaches, experiences with enforcement, and potential health equity issues through a series of qualitative and quantitative studies. Results: Findings suggest that there was unanimous support for the introduction of the bylaw among policy makers, as well as a high degree of positive public support. We observed that smoking initially declined following the ban’s implementation, but that smoking practices vary in parks by location. We also found evidence of different levels of enforcement and compliance between settings, and between different populations of park and beach users. Conclusions: Overall success with the implementation of the bylaw is tempered by potential increases in health inequities because of variable enforcement of the ban; greatest levels of smoking appear to continue to occur in the least advantaged areas of the city. Jurisdictions developing such policies need to consider how to allocate sufficient resources to enhance voluntary compliance and ensure that such bylaws do not contribute to health inequities.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)