The Regional Municipality of Durham

News Release

New regulations announced for Smoke-Free Ontario Act

WHITBY, ON December 19, 2014

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recently announced new Smoke-Free Ontario Act regulations to further protect Ontario residents from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. Effective Jan. 1, 2015, it will be illegal to smoke on bar and restaurant patios, sell tobacco on college and university campuses, and smoke near children’s playgrounds and public sports fields and surfaces.

“In the coming year, the Health Department will be contacting establishments in all area municipalities to assist them with notifying their patrons about the new regulations,” said Shelley Simic, a public health nurse with Durham Region Health Department. “Establishments will also be provided with signage for posting as part of an ongoing public awareness campaign.”

Ms. Simic also explains that the new regulation can assist residents who are trying to quit smoking or those who have recently quit, as smoke-free areas will further help in deterring them from using tobacco products. “One of the benefits of the implementation of smoke-free areas will result in socially de-normalizing tobacco use,” Ms. Simic added. “In addition, smoke-free areas can help to encourage a healthy, smoke-free and active lifestyle, protect people from harmful second-hand smoke, and provide positive role models for youth.”

According to Cancer Care Ontario, tobacco is responsible for more than 37,000 deaths each year in Canada; these findings indicate that 13,000 of these deaths are in Ontario, which translates to 36 Ontarians who die from tobacco-related illnesses each day. Also, a recent Health Department survey found that 15 per cent of area residents are current smokers, representing about 75,000 people. The survey found that approximately 70 per cent of these people are considering or planning on quitting smoking within the next six months.

“The New Year is often an opportunity for individuals to consider improving their health by quitting smoking, said Ms. Simic. “Ontario’s new regulations covering smoke-free areas may help to provide the incentive that people need to achieve their goal.”

For more information on quitting smoking, tobacco use prevention and protecting residents from exposure to second-hand smoke, please call Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841 -2729. For more information on the new regulations, signage and enforcement, please call Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.

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.