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The Regional Municipality of Durham printPrinter Friendly Version

News Release

Residents can now enjoy more smoke-free outdoor public places

WHITBY, ON July 27, 2015 – With the arrival of warmer weather, Durham Region Health Department encourages area residents to enjoy more smoke-free outdoor public places, thanks to the new Smoke-Free Ontario Act regulations that came into effect Jan. 1. It is now 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.

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. In addition, a recent Health Department survey found that 15 per cent of Durham-area residents are current smokers, representing about 75,000 people locally. The Health Department survey also found that of the 75,000 local residents, 70 per cent indicate that they are considering or planning on quitting smoking within the next six months.

“For individuals trying to quit smoking or those who have recently quit, smoke-free areas can provide support by helping to reduce the triggers that might lead to smoking,” explained Shelley Simic, a public health nurse with the Health Department. “The benefits of smoke-free areas can also assist in socially de-normalizing tobacco use and thus, help to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products.

“Smoke-free patios, playgrounds and sports fields encourage a healthy, smoke-free and active lifestyle, provide positive role models for youth and can help to protect residents from harmful second-hand smoke.”

“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 public health priority.”

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, or visit For more information on the new regulations, signage and enforcement, please call the Environmental Help Line at 905-723-3818 or 1-888-777-9613.

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Media inquiries:

The Regional Municipality of Durham:
Glendene Collins - Health Department, 905-668-7711 ext. 2999 or

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For more information, please contact Health Department.