Four smokers receive first tickets – $305 each – for not butting out

Smoking just became an even more expensive habit for four members of the York community after a visit by a provincial offences officer from Toronto Public Health. The four – three students and a York staff member – were hit with fines of $305 each for smoking in prohibited areas on the Keele campus.

Despite previous warnings, each of the four smokers was caught lighting up Nov. 9 – one in each of four outdoor areas that are now considered enclosed spaces under the provincial Smoke Free Ontario Act, which took effect May 31. The four areas on York’s Keele campus are: the Central Square Courtyard, Vari Hall North, Vari Hall South and the entrance door to Curtis Lecture Hall West.

York campus relations officers had previously warned all of the offenders who were fined that they were smoking in prohibited areas and advised them about the possible consequences. The four admitted to the provincial offences officer that they had been previously warned by security.

Since Sept. 15, when York’s education campaign about the new provincial regulation began in earnest, members of York Security Campus Relations Office have given out more than 600 warnings to smokers across the Keele campus. In some areas, York Security Services staff were handing out informational messages asking smokers to be considerate of others, especially in new areas where smoking was previously allowed.

Areas such as the Colonnade along York Lanes and the Student Centre have long been signed as no-smoking areas, but there was some confusion due to previous city bylaws that permitted smoking during warmer months when the covered walkway’s side windows were removed. Under the new provincial regulations, any area with more than two walls and a roof is deemed “enclosed” and falls under the regulation, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 for each offence.