Butt out in work vehicles, they are places of work

Pam Sawers, Tobacco Enforcement Officer, Northern Health


When we hop in a work vehicle or a cab, it is important to keep in mind that these are work spaces for the people operating the vehicles. As they are classified as work spaces, vehicles being used for work of any sort need to remain tobacco free according to regulations.

Recently there has been an increase of complaints about both cab drivers and passengers smoking in the vehicles in the northeast part of the province.  Potential passengers in these vehicles have the right to refuse to get into the vehicle that a cab driver is currently smoking in, or has recently smoked in as it is considered in non-compliance of the regulations.  I would encourage the public to help with compliance by lodging a complaint with the cab company if the driver is smoking or if the vehicle smells of smoke. It is also important that the public shows these cab companies respect by not using tobacco in their vehicles either. If people do lodge a complaint with a cab company, I would encourage them to also report this company to Northern Health’s Tobacco Enforcement Officer. Investigation and enforcement action has been taken with the cab companies in the Northeast, including surveillance and ticketing.  The fine for the cab driver and the cab company starts at $575.00 and can be issued to both the driver and the owner of the cab company.

The regulations also apply to other work vehicles as well. If you’re traveling in a work vehicle of any sort, including semi-trucks or fleet vehicles, the regulations state the vehicle has to remain tobacco free. The regulation is in place to protect people from second and third hand smoke that could affect their health. If you’re concerned about tobacco use in company vehicles, you’re encouraged to speak to your employer, Worksafe BC or contact the Northern Health Tobacco Enforcement Officer.

Residents of BC can access services from QuitNow including online information, one to one counselling by phone, text, email and online community support. Visit www.quitnow.ca or call HealthlinkBC at 8-1-1. There also is information on the QuitNow website specifically for patients who are having surgery.

Everyone who has a BC Care Card can access 12 weeks of nicotine gum or nicotine patches to help reduce the discomfort of nicotine withdrawal. There is also coverage for smoking cessation medications including Varenicline (Champix) or Bupropion (Zyban) for those who have met their pharmacare deductible. Call HealthlinkBC at 8-1-1 to access the BC Smoking Cessation Program.

If you have a concern around Tobacco Usage in the workplace, call your Regional Tobacco Enforcement Officer at 250 719 6500.