NANAIMO — The days of smoking on the top deck of a ferry in B.C. are coming to an end.
Starting January 2018, all smoking on BC Ferries ships, terminals and other property is banned.
Darren Johnston, director of fleet operations, said the decision to ban tobacco, marijuana and e-cigarettes is keeping with the times and also makes designing their ships easier.
"It becomes very difficult to find a small space where you can actually have a smoking area," he explained to NanaimoNewsNOW. Provincial regulations state there can't be any smoking within three to six feet of any opening to inside the ferry, of which there are many. "Not completely impossible but very challenging."
Over the years, Johnston said there's been a steady intake of complaints about second-hand smoke, which helped prompt the decision.
Much like anyone found drinking beer or alcohol on the ferry, Johnston said they'll use a "common sense approach" and do what they can to make sure people stick to the rules, such as explaining why people can't smoke, though they don't have the authority to fine anyone for smoking.
"Do we expect some people (will still smoke)? Yes, I have no doubt it will happen. Will we even know it's happening? Perhaps in some cases we will not," Johnston said. "These new regulations are designed to provide a healthy environment for everyone...so it's in that spirit we need to ensure people are playing by the rules."
The upcoming smoking ban wasn't the only BC Ferries announcement on Tuesday, Aug 22.
New regulations from Transport Canada mean no one is allowed to stay in their car if it's parked on a lower or enclosed deck during the voyage.
"This is done entirely for the purposes of safety and it's fully mandated by Transport Canada," Johnston said. "We don't have any choice in this matter but we're very keen to work with members of the public to make sure the inconvenience is minimized."
The new car restrictions take effect on Oct. 11.
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