Ottawa health board recommends smoke-free city property

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CTV Ottawa

Written by CTV

The Ottawa Board of Health has recommended that smoking be banned on all city property in an effort to make the capital a healthier city.

The board said in a news release the ban would include parks, beaches, and restaurant patios in an effort to reduce second-hand smoke and smoking rates.

“Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable death and disease,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health. “In Ottawa, almost 1,000 smokers and non-smokers die each year due to tobacco-related illness.”

“I really wanted to protect people’s health while they’re out trying to enjoy themselves, specifically for our young people,” said Ottawa councillor Stephen Blais, who put forward the motion. “I think focusing on bar and restaurant patios and focusing on recreational places such as parks and beaches should really be the hardest part of the focus.”

Blais said the motion will make Ottawa a non-smoking leader again.

“We were ahead of the curve, unfortunately we’ve gone behind the curve over the last number of years,” he said. “A number of jurisdictions like Chicago, New York, the entire province of Alberta banned smoking on patios a number of years ago.”

The recommendations also include increasing stop-smoking services and programs and focusing on lowering the number of youth who start smoking.

This come after three months of public consultations which the board said showed strong support for these changes.

“They realize that one’s right to smoke . . . shouldn’t impede your right to live a healthy and active lifestyle,” Blais said. “Second-hand smoke contains 70 per cent more tar and over 4,000 deadly chemicals so people want to be health-conscious and enjoy public spaces in their own way.”

A 2011 Ipsos-Reid survey said over 70 per cent of respondents were in favour of making those areas smoke-free.