Smoke Free Bylaw
As of February 1, 2023, smoking or vaping of tobacco and nicotine products is not allowed in many public places in the Town of Banff. (See news release.)
Banff Town Council approved a new bylaw that improves alignment with their cannabis smoking and vaping restrictions implemented in 2018.
The new rules provide a safer place for residents and visitors to enjoy Banff without the health risks of second-hand smoke. The new bylaw also helps reduce fire risks and reduces littering in the national park community.
A Banff bylaw prohibits smoking or vaping tobacco in the following areas throughout the town site:
- Municipal parks/parkettes/green spaces
- Trails and Pathways
- Outdoor markets
- Outdoor events
- in proximity to children not in one’s custody, care or control
Provincial law continues to ban smoking within five metres from publicly accessible doorways or windows, which has effectively restricted smoking for a number of years on most sidewalks in the downtown core. New provincial restrictions implemented in 2021 also ban smoking in:
- hospital, school and childcare properties
- playgrounds, sports and playing fields
- skateboard and bicycle parks
- zoos, outdoor theatres
- public outdoor pools and splash pads
Banff previously banned smoking or vaping cannabis in any public places in the town boundaries, except in the Parks Canada-managed Cascades Gardens, and on trails and areas outside the town boundaries. Please refer to this map for town boundaries.
Where is smoking allowed in Banff?
Smoking and vaping tobacco and nicotine products will still be allowed:
- on private property where it is permitted
- outdoor parking areas, and
- in Banff’s network of alleys.
Businesses can continue to designate smoking areas on their private property, such as hotel grounds and sidewalks leading to restaurants, off the public sidewalks. The ceremonial use of tobacco through Indigenous practices are also allowed. Businesses are not allowed to designate smoking areas in adjacent public areas such as parks or sidewalks. In public areas where smoking is permitted, it must not occur within five metres from sidewalks or trails, as per the municipal bylaw.
Smoking restrictions have been discussed by council dating back to June 2018 when the topic first emerged during cannabis legalization. The Town of Banff prohibits smoking and vaping of cannabis in public places.
Council implemented the change to help promote healthier lifestyles for everyone.
Increasingly, municipalities are introducing smoke free regulations. In Alberta, Okotoks and Strathmore are examples of communities with similar restrictions such as banning smoking on public sidewalks. In January of 2021, the City of Milan introduced an extensive outdoor smoking ban in public places to help improve air quality as they had identified that cigarette smoke was responsible for approximately 8% of the city’s inhalable particulate matter. It is believed to be one of the first cities to link smoking restrictions with improving air quality and combating climate change.
The bylaw comes into effect on February 1, 2023.
Support to help people quit smoking
Many people are smokers for various reasons – to assist with coping, to transition away from other addictions, or to fit in to social situations – and many want to quit. As one of the most addictive substances, quitting alone is very difficult. It is important that people who want to quit smoking are not isolated. This bylaw is not intended to push people away from sight. For many years, back alleys in Banff have been the popular pedestrian route for locals wishing to bypass busy visitor corridors. Our community is a supportive community. We want to help people who want to quit smoking.
Different programs work for different people, but some sort of support significantly increases the success rate in quitting smoking. From self-directed programs, to cessation therapists, to medication support, there are options available locally. Explore options about programs and resources to help people to stop smoking:
- Consult with your family doctor for strategies right for you
- The AlbertaQuits helpline is free in Alberta. Call 1-866-710-7848 to get confidential support from quit counsellors.
- Alberta’s main quitting resource centre online AlbertaQuits – including phone, text, group and personal counselling support
- MyHealth Alberta smoking quitting supports includes resources and information about benefit plans that fund added support
- Bow Valley Primary Care Network is a local organization that runs smoking cessation workshops:
- Phone 2-1-1 for a 24-7 info and referral line with resources and information on all physical and mental health matters
- Tools for a Smoke Free Life – quitting supports (Canada)
- Thinking about quitting?
- Benefits of quitting
- Risks of Vaping
- Quit Smoking Info (Canada)
- Health Canada tobacco smoking and vaping info
- CDC Resources on Quitting Smoking (U.S.)
- Why did the Town of Banff create a smoke-free bylaw?
- Doesn’t the provincial government already restrict smoking in public?
- How will you enforce this bylaw?
- Can I get a ticket for smoking in the Town of Banff?
- Is there anywhere I can smoke in Banff?
- Are there still public ashtrays available?
- What about Indigenous people who use tobacco for ceremonial purposes?
- I run business in town, how can I prepare for this bylaw?
- As a business, am I responsible for enforcing this bylaw?
- What can residents do to support this bylaw?