Calgary Zoo to remove all of its designated smoking and vaping areas on Jan. 1

Smoking and vaping will no longer be allowed on Calgary Zoo property beginning next year.

The Wilder Institute/Calgary Zoo will ban both practices beginning Jan. 1, a move that brings the facility into compliance with provincial regulations that took effect in 2021.

The zoo currently has two designated smoking areas for park visitors, one beside the Safari Lodge and another next to the Kitamba Cafe. The zoo’s Enmax Patio also has a space where attendees of special events can smoke.

“The Calgary Zoo is going smoke-free in 2023 to align with provincial and civic bylaws,” spokeswoman Alison Archambault told CBC News.

“The bylaws have been in place for a period of time now, and we wanted to take a phased-in approach to recognize for staff, for volunteers, for visitors that may smoke or may vape, that this transition could take some time.

“We wanted to give everybody advance notice so that they could make changes in plans so they could comply with us.”

Alberta’s Smoking and Vaping Reduction Act came into effect July 31, 2021, and has compliance requirements for zoos.

Beginning next month, Archambault said, there would be no smoking or vaping anywhere at the zoo. The rules apply not only to park visitors but to volunteers and staff as well. She said zoo security will remind people of the rules.

Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH Canada), said including vaping in the ban is important because children don’t differentiate between vaping and smoking.   

He said the biggest challenge facing tobacco control is the explosive rise in youth vaping.

The zoo isn’t the only popular destination in southern Alberta to enact a smoking ban recently.

The Town of Banff last week voted to enact a new bylaw on Feb. 1, 2023, prohibiting smoking in parks, trails, sidewalks, pedestrian zones, bus stops and outdoor events and markets.

This will come on top of the provincial rules that prohibit smoking near places like hospitals, schools, zoos, pools and splash pads. 

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