Smoking on the margins: A comprehensive analysis of a municipal outdoor smoke-free policy

Ann Pederson, Chizimuzo T. Okoli, Natalie Hemsing, Renée O'Leary, Amanda Wiggins, Wendy Rice, Joan L. Bottorff, Lorraine Greaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number852
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 22 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute for Population and Public Health as an Operating Grant: Population Health Intervention Research (FRN#112694).

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through a Population Health Intervention Research Operating Grant. Many individuals served as academic, policy and clinical advisors to the project, including Milan Khara, Jack Boomer, Thomas Soullière, Deborah McLellan, and Ellen Hahn. We would like to thank Steven Chasey for conducting the key informant interviews and Natasha Jategaonkar for her analysis of outdoor smoking in parks and beaches from the perspective of public health ethics.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Beach
  • Canada
  • Health equity
  • Marginalization
  • Municipal
  • Outdoor smoking ban
  • Park
  • Policy
  • Tobacco control
  • population health intervention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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