BC Ferries announced this week that as of January 22 the company will introduce a smoke-free environment on board all of its vessels and at its terminals. This coincides with National Non-Smoking Week, which runs from January 21 to 28.
Last year, the Province amended regulations for no smoking buffer zones around any doorway, intake or open window to any public or workplace from three metres to six metres. Due to the physical space available from doors on the outer decks of BC Ferries’ large vessels and on the vehicle decks of smaller vessels, the new regulation means all vessels will need to become smoke-free environments. In reviewing its policy on smoking in remaining areas, BC Ferries says it is choosing to introduce a smoke-free environment on all BC Ferries properties, including vessels, terminals and other operations, to support the health and wellness of its passengers and employees.
Mark Collins, BC Ferries’ President and CEO, said: “This new policy supports the health and wellness of our customers and employees, as it helps control their exposure to second-hand smoke. We continue to focus on improving our customers’ experience, and providing the safest working environment for our crews.”
BC Ferries is providing advanced notice of the policy change to provide passengers and employees who smoke time to adjust to this change.
The new smoke-free policy will apply to tobacco, marijuana and e-cigarettes, and is expected to reduce the number of complaints BC Ferries receives from customers related to second-hand smoke. Announcements regarding the new policy will be made on board the vessels and at the terminals, and signage will be placed on board the vessels and on shore as a reminder of the new policy.
“Smoking tobacco continues to be one of the single largest threats to the health of British Columbians and our visitors,” said Island Health’s Dr. Dee Hoyano, Medical Health Officer. “By going smoke-free in its terminals and on its vessels, BC Ferries is supporting healthier, cleaner and safer environments for everyone.”
To coincide with the introduction of the new policy, BC Ferries has launched a comprehensive employee smoking cessation program. Support is also available for members of the public who wish to quit smoking, including the B.C. government’s Smoking Cessation Program.