Article by Jon Aspiri at Global News:  BC Ferries to ban passengers from staying on closed vehicle decks during sailings starting in October (includes video)

A few comments...from a 30-year employee of B.C.Ferries who retired, as a Second Officer, almost 9 years ago.

First, I was really quite amazed:  Of the two/simultaneous announcements (yes, the 'official' start dates are different but...), it seems to me that the 'ban on people in their vehicles on enclosed car decks' got far more coverage -- and seemed to be more "controversial" -- than what appears to be a very sweeping and comprehensive smoking ban.  

For the sake of 'balance', I guess they had to interview one whining woman (I wonder how long it took them to find a smoker) who seemed to think that the existing smoking areas are small enough and, of course, "they don't bother anybody" (especially those smoking areas that are directly outside the kids play areas, much to Big Tobacco's delight, on both of the Spirit class ships... with supposedly smoke-free areas aft of those smoking areas).

Second, the smoking ban has been in the works for at least a couple of years, I believe... and went through a few stages (for example, the version that existed about a year ago did not include the terminals).

For me, personally, the smoking ban is bittersweet.

From my day one at BCFS -- almost 4 decades ago, in July of '78 -- I fought the battle for the total ban (incrementally, of course) virtually every day of my career... telling both passengers (including a Hell's Angel) and crew (including a couple of ferry Captains) -- and anybody/everybody in between -- to butt out (unless, of course, they were in a designated smoking area).

BCFS resisted all the way, dragging their feet and generally doing the absolute minimum required by law... complete with virtually zero enforcement, despite major fire risks, etc. (while many passengers and fellow crew were sympathetic/supportive, I was pretty much it, in terms of enforcing the smoking restrictions, especially in bad weather, when the 'sympathy' level for smokers seemed to rise among everyone else).

And, when I first heard about the ban (again, about 2 years ago... and yes, at that point, I'd been retired for almost 7 years), I contacted the office of the Captain who was 'in charge of' developing the policy... and offered my 'services'... pro bono, of course.

I can't honestly say I was shocked or surprised when my 'offer' was rejected.  I just felt that it would've been a nice gesture if they could've put their pompous and arrogant attitude aside for a moment and said something like, "Yah, this guy was a pain in the ass for 30 years, but we can let him be part of this process that will, one day soon, result in one of his goals/dreams being realized."

I guess my reputation preceded me... and, over the decades, I ruffled too many feathers in head office... most notably, those of former (2003 - 2011) president and CEO David Hahn, a smoker.

So, while I'm clearly happy to see the total smoking ban coming, there's no reason why it couldn't have happened at least a decade or two before I retired.  Every other major ferry fleet in the world -- including our neighbours to the south, Washington State Ferries --  banned smoking a very long time ago.

Notwithstanding the tobacco-friendly B.C. Liberals, it will forever remain a mystery to me as to why/how B.C. -- once #1 in terms of tobacco control in Canada -- lags so far behind, in terms of both the smoking ban on B.C. Ferries and getting tobacco products out of pharmacies.

All of that said, I'm very tempted to contact BCFS... and ask them to postpone the 'official' implementation date of the smoking ban (currently set for 5 months from now (January 22, 2018).  Yes, you read correctly; I want them to postpone implementation!

Monday, Jan 22 does fall within National Non-Smoking Week... which is kinda cool!  But I think implementation should be postponed til Wednesday, Jan 24; Cold Turkey Day/Weedless Wednesday!  Or, better yet, until Wed, Jan 31... my 65th birthday.  And no, I don't give a damn how arrogant and pompous that may sound! :-)

ErrolPovah
President, Airspace Action on Smoking and Health

Joomla templates by a4joomla