Former Burnaby council candidate Claire Preston is calling for a ban on the sale of cigarettes with plastic filters in the city in an effort to reduce plastic litter.
Preston, who presented a delegation at a recent council meeting, said the plastic filter within cigarette butts harms the environment. Discarded butts are also a leading cause of forest fires, she said.
“I think that we need to be moving towards a more environmentally sustainable way for humans to partake in the toxins and poisons that they enjoy,” Preston said.
Preston mounted an unsuccessful bid for council in 2018, but has since been appointed to the parks, recreation and culture commission and the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing.
As one alternative, Preston proposed allowing cigarettes with organic smoking material and paper filters, like those found in some cannabis products.
She said she is against all forms of prohibition.
“This is not me saying, ‘Get rid of all tobacco products,’” Preston said.
She said she chose to address council instead of the environment and social planning committee because she felt her plea could be considered controversial.
Mayor Mike Hurley said he doubted the city had the power to implement such a sales ban, but said Preston’s proposal would be forwarded to the city’s the environment committee.
In 2017, the City of Vancouver amended its fire bylaw to include a fine of $500 for not properly disposing of smoking materials.
Burnaby does not have any similar bylaws.
Preston said other cities have taken steps towards banning plastic bags and straws. She said Burnaby could step up and lead the way in reducing plastic litter from cigarettes.
Preston said she plans to repeat her presentation in front of the environment committee soon.