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.

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Notes/Citation Information

Published in BMC Public Health, v. 16, 852, p. 1-13.

© The Author(s). 2016

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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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).

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The data gathered in this research are available from the co-principal applicants. Please contact apederson@cw.bc.ca if you are interested in accessing the data or related project materials.