December 7, 2007

Ontario health associations praise proposed smoking ban in cars

Toronto, Ontario – Health associations in Ontario have indicated their support for proposed legislation that would amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to prohibit smoking in vehicles when a person under the age of 16 is in the vehicle. If passed, the legislation would be enforceable under the Highway Traffic Act.

The private member’s bill was introduced by MPP David Orazietti. Earlier this year, the town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia became the first Canadian community to prohibit smoking in vehicles; the law, which will take effect in June 2008, affects vehicles carrying youth under the age of 18. Other jurisdictions that have banned smoking in vehicles with children include California, Arkansas, Louisiana, South Australia, and Bangor, Maine and Keyport, New Jersey.

“Second-hand smoke is harmful to health, particularly for children,” said Peter Goodhand, CEO, Ontario Division, Canadian Cancer Society. “If passed, this legislation will protect the health of children in this province and perhaps encourage parents and caregivers to improve their own health by quitting. We encourage parents and caregivers not to wait for this bill to pass to protect their children. When you buckle up, butt out.”

Meanwhile, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario released the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll that showed that 66 per cent of smokers and 86 per cent of non-smokers support legislation banning smoking in cars carrying children aged 16 and under.

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