The City of Timmins is amending its smoking bylaw for its public libraries. It owns the properties where the Timmins Public Library and the C.M. Shields Centennial Branch are located.

"There’s a lot of people who gather and smoke nearby and we’ve allowed it in the past few years because it was so many metres away (from the doors)," said Carole-Ann Demers, chief executive officer for the Timmins Public Library.

However, in a letter to Timmins city council earlier this month, Demers asked for a smoking and vaping ban at both sites and council agreed.

“The amendment includes the sitting area that’s right near our door (Timmins location) where people are walking through every day and so we see many families, young children coming through," said Demers.

The change will come into effect on Aug. 15 and the new rule will be enforced by the city's bylaw department.

The Canadian Cancer Society said it applauds the decision.

“With smoking outdoors, there’s issues of the harms of second hand smoke," said Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society.

"There’s issues of modelling for children and there’s issue of cigarette butts. It’s very expensive for municipalities to have to pick up all these butts."

Cunningham said statistics from 2015-2016 showed the Porcupine Health Unit Area has one of the highest smoking rates in Ontario at 27 per cent, along with Algoma Public Health.

As well, he said, the vaping rate among students in grades 7 to 12 in the Timmins region is also the highest in the province, while smoking among youth is also popular and further supports the need to have comprehensive action locally.

"Youth smoking in the past year for students grade 7 to 12 was at 10 per cent, versus five per cent province-wide, so double the rate of youth smoking in northern Ontario," Cunningham said.

Timmins joins municipalities such as Sudbury in prohibiting smoking on library property.

The Canadian Cancer Society said with smoking being the leading cause of disease and death in Canada, it would be a good idea for municipalities to consider widening smoking bans at more of its properties.