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BC Ferries going smoke-free in January

Change sparked by stricter provincial rules countering second-hand smoke
BC Ferries will remove designated smoking areas from all its ferries and terminals by Jan. 22. (Andrew Hudson/File photo)

BC Ferries will quit offering any smoking areas on ferries or at terminals starting on Jan. 22.

The ferry corporation says the change was sparked by the provincial government’s recent strengthening of rules to counter second-hand smoke. Last year, the province required that all designed smoking areas be at least six metres away from doorways, intakes, windows, and other outlets, rather than three.

According to BC Ferries, the new six-metre threshold means all ferries in its fleet would have to go smoke-free for lack of space.

Following a full review of its smoking policy, the company also decided to stop offering smoking areas at terminals to reduce the amount of second-hand smoke faced by passengers and staff.

The new policy will apply to marijuana and e-cigarettes as well as conventional tobacco.

Dr. Dee Hoyano, a medical health officer with Island Health Authority, said in a BC Ferries press release that smoking remains one of the largest single health threats to people in British Columbia.

The Jan. 22 switch is timed to coincide with National Non-Smoking Week, which runs from Jan. 21 to 28.

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