01/20/2013 03:23 EST | Updated 10/13/2013 04:15 EDT

Broader Smoking Ban Called For In BC

The Canadian Cancer Society is calling on the B.C. government to ban smoking on all outdoor patios of bars and restaurants as well as in all parks and playgrounds across the province.

Smoking on eatery and bar patios has already been banned in many municipalities in B.C. as well as in all of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta and Yukon.

And an economic argument against it doesn't wash, says Kathryn Seely, with the B.C. branch of the society.

“It's been established by numerous studies and as well the four provinces that have prohibited smoking on patios, and the 30 B.C. municipalities that have also done so, that prohibiting smoking on patios does not harm business. There is no economic loss argument,” Seely told CBC News.

The society’s call for the ban comes at the start of National Non-Smoking Week in Canada.

Seely said even though B.C. has the lowest smoking rate in Canada, 6,000 British Columbians still die every year from tobacco-linked illnesses, including cancer.

Smoking is already banned in Metro Vancouver parks and it’s also prohibited in Vancouver playgrounds, beaches, parking lots and golf courses.

The Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a resolution last year calling for a similar, sweeping province-wide ban on smoking outdoors and Seely hopes this becomes a provincial election issue.

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