In order to provide the leadership necessary to protect Ottawa’s most vulnerable citizens from exposure to second hand smoke, Cumberland Councillor Stephen Blais is proposing the expansion of Smoke Free Ottawa to include outdoor patios before 8:00 p.m. and a total ban at all public parks and beaches.
“The health of Ottawans, particularly young people is paramount,” says Blais. “Second-hand smoke contains over 4,000 toxins (poisonous chemicals), 50 of which are known to cause cancer.”
The age group most likely to report being exposed to second hand smoke in public places is young Canadians aged 12-19. The rate of exposure for this group (18.1%) is almost twice as high as the national average.
Only 22% of Canadians already live in communities where workers and the public are protected from second-hand smoke on restaurant patios. Ottawa must continue to demonstrate leadership in being smoke free.
“Every resident, including children, people with respiratory illnesses, tourists, should be able to enjoy Ottawa’s patio life, parks and beaches without the serious threats posed by second-hand smoke,” adds Blais. “This bylaw will responsibly expand A Smoke-Free Ontario by helping to reduce people’s exposure to the harmful effects posed by second-hand smoke.”
Children are much more at risk than adults when it comes to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke:
- Children breathe faster than adults, so their smaller lungs take in more of the toxins from the smoke.
- Exposure to second-hand smoke causes children to suffer more frequent ear infections and lung problems, including coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, croup, and even asthma and pneumonia.
- The effects of second-hand smoke can follow children into adulthood and increase their risk for cancer and heart disease.
- Second-hand smoke can affect a child’s learning ability and behaviour.
- Children of smokers are more likely to start smoking when they are older.