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City bans smoking outright – illegal anywhere in public

July 20, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

If your clients are heading to North America, tell them to forget about smoking in this city unless they do so secretly, perhaps underwater in a diving bell. 

The city has disliked smoke ever since it was blown to pieces by the biggest manmade explosion in history until the invention of the atomic bomb.

Halifax, in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, has now banned smoking in public places. You can’t smoke on footpaths, streets or any other municipal properties including parks, trails and playgrounds. The ban applies to cigarettes and cigars, and also to vaping and marijuana – when Canada makes cannabis officially legal, which it soon will.

The vote by Halifax city council on smoking was 13-3 in favour of the total ban with little real debate.

Predictably, the decision stirred up a Twitter storm.

“I love #Halifax and living in #NovaScotia but we should just change it from City Councilors to Fun Wreckers,” wrote Cara Cummings. “Will there be sections of public sidewalks around bars for smoking or will we have to hide in dark corners on a night out?!”

Another writer said it was “absolutely unbelievable that vaping has been lumped in with tobacco smoking and cannabis smoking.”

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Police will now be able to fine people they catch smoking in public, up to CAD 100 (that’s about AUD 100, the Canadian dollar being worth just a fraction more than its Australian counterpart).

The city is currently putting up 1000 “no smoking” signs.

Halifax saw more smoke than it wanted just over a century ago, in 1917, when the Norwegian vessel SS Imo collided with SS Mont-Blanc, a French cargo ship laden to the brim with high explosives.

Something caused a fire. Was it a crewman’s cigarette or the force of the collision? Whatever, the fire spread – and then the SS Mont-Blanc blew up. The explosion was so enormous it caused a tsunami. The blast killed about 2000 people, injured 9000 others, deafened hundreds and blew away a huge section of the city, which then collapsed and caught fire.

Midwinter snow covers the remains of the city of Halifax in this photo, taken two days after the explosion in December 1917.

The largest manmade explosion before the development of nuclear weapons released the equivalent energy of roughly 3 kilotons of TNT.

The pressure wave snapped trees like matchsticks, bent heavy iron rails and scattered fragments of the SS Mont-Blanc for kilometres. Hardly a window in the city survived. A tsunami spread out from the detonation zone, wiping out the community of the Mi’kmaq First Nation who had lived in the Tufts Cove area for generations.

Think about that before you light up in Halifax!

Below: The Halifax Explosion Memorial Bell Tower

Written by Peter Needham

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