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News Release

Celebrating 10 years of Smoke-Free Ontario Act accomplishments this World No Tobacco Day

WHITBY, ON May 26, 2016

Durham Region Health Department will mark World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), May 31, by celebrating 10 years of tobacco control successes resulting from the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, as well as the work of local champions to help promote smoke-free initiatives.

Introduced in 2006, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act established provincial legislation banning smoking in all enclosed public places, schools and workplaces. This Act was the first phase of a Smoke-Free Ontario strategy. Other milestones of this strategy over the past decade include restricting the advertising and promotion of cigarettes in retail stores, banning smoking in vehicles carrying young people under 16-years old, making areas around children’s playgrounds, play areas and sports fields smoke-free, and ensuring that patios where food or drink are served are also smoke-free.

Effective this WNTD, the Ajax Municipal Housing Corporation will implement its new no-smoking policy in 84 units of one of its apartment buildings. The no-smoking policy will be added into all new tenant lease agreements and will prohibit smoking tobacco inside these tenants’ private units, as well as other no-smoking restrictions outlined in their lease agreement. This is the first building in the corporation’s portfolio to incorporate a no-smoking policy, with other properties being considered in the near future.

“Ajax Municipal Housing Corporation and its residents are making a huge leap forward in achieving significant health benefits associated with smoke-free environments,” said Kevin Bradley, General Manager for Ajax Municipal Housing Corporation. “We hope to provide residents with cleaner, better maintained units and a reduced risk of fires. I am pleased to inaugurate our no-smoking policy on World No Tobacco Day.” 

“We have a lot to celebrate in how far we have come with health protection through the Smoke-Free Ontario strategy,” said Shelley Simic, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “But getting in front of the tobacco epidemic is still a challenge.

“There are still about two-million people in Ontario who smoke and we know that smoking is expected to kill one in every two long-term users. It’s important to ensure that supports continue to be made available to help people break their addiction.”

According to a 2014 Health Department survey, 13 per cent of area residents are current smokers; this equals to approximately 60,000 people. Seventy per cent of these current smokers have indicated that they are considering quitting or planning on quitting within the next six months.

“What’s equally concerning is that the survey found that 22 per cent of 18 to 24-year olds in Durham Region are smokers, while 14 per cent of secondary school students in grades 9 to 12 also smoke,” added Ms. Simic.

“Tobacco use remains the number one preventable cause of death and disease in Canada,” said Dr. Robert Kyle, Durham Region Medical Officer of Health. “Strategies to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products are a priority. 

“World No Tobacco Day was created by the World Health Organization in 1987 and is celebrated annually to focus on the impact of the harmful effects of tobacco. This annual event highlights the tobacco epidemic and emphasizes the important work that still needs to be done in tobacco control.”

A small reception will take place at The Regional Municipality of Durham headquarters on World No Tobacco Day, May 31, to celebrate 10 years of successes and to honour local champions who have promoted smoke-free initiatives in Durham.

For more information on quitting smoking, tobacco use prevention and protecting people from exposure to second-hand smoke, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841 -2729.

Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:

Glendene Collins – Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999

If this information is required in an accessible format, please contact the Accessibility Co-ordinator at 1-800-372-1102 extension 2009.

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For more information, please contact Health Department.