The City of Surrey wants to ban smoking at the Surrey Memorial Hospital and the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. Council approved a bylaw amendment at last night’s meeting which would prohibit smoking on these properties, including open areas and parking lots that are more than 7.5 metres away from a building.

“Second-hand smoke can be very dangerous and the risks are exacerbated when hospital patients are exposed to the toxins,” says Mayor Dianne Watts. “The City of Surrey is committed to implementing stringent anti-smoking regulations and this is an important step towards improving the health and comfort of our residents.”

Currently, the Surrey Public Health Smoking Protection By-law prohibits smoking in the following places:

•in a building, subject to certain exemptions;
•in a vehicle for hire;
•on public transit;
•in an enclosed or partially enclosed shelter where people wait for a vehicle–for-hire or public transit;
•in a vehicle when any other occupant of the vehicle is under 19 years of age;
•within 7.5 metres of any opening to any building;
•in an area where food or alcoholic drinks are served; and
•within 7.5 metres of the perimeter of an area where food or alcoholic drinks are served.

“We’ve received concerns about the harmful effects of people smoking at our hospitals, and we’ve been working with Fraser Health to ensure we create a safe, welcoming and healthy environment at these facilities,” says Councillor Mary Martin, Chair of the Community Health Programs Committee.

The Fraser Health Authority supports the proposed amendments, but has indicated that it may need to allow some patients to smoke, and will create a designated smoking area at the facilities.

The City will now forward the proposed amendment by-law to the Medical Health Officer for approval, prior to it being brought forward to Council for adoption. The report will also be provided to the Provincial Minister of Health.