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Smoking prohibited on patios, sports fields and playgrounds

SIMCOE, January 5, 2015 – The Ontario Government is strengthening the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to further protect Ontarians from the harmful effects of tobacco.  As of January 1, 2015 it is illegal to smoke on bar and restaurant patios, to smoke on playgrounds and public sports fields, and to sell tobacco on university and college campuses.  These changes are part of the government’s plan to help smokers quit, protect non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke and discourage young people from starting.

In the past, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibited smoking on covered or partially covered patios in Ontario.  Under the new regulations, smoking will be prohibited on all bar and restaurant outdoor patios.  The only exemption is uncovered patios at branches of the Royal Canadian Legion established prior to November 18, 2013.  This amendment aims to protect employees and customers from the exposure of second hand smoke which is dangerous even in the outdoor environment.

Other changes include the prohibition of smoking on and around playgrounds and public sports fields that are owned by a municipality, the province, or a postsecondary education institution. This includes areas with children’s play equipment, sporting fields and spectator areas as well as 20 metres surrounding these locations. Studies show that prohibiting smoking around children and youth reduces the likelihood that they will ever start to smoke.

The ministry has provided signage for the new amendments which are currently being installed throughout Haldimand and Norfolk.  The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit Tobacco Enforcement Officer will carry out inspections and respond to complaints.  Those in violation of the Smoke Free Ontario Act can be fined.

Despite significant progress in curbing the use of tobacco products, 13,000 people in Ontario still die each year as a result of tobacco-related diseases.  Tobacco-related disease costs Ontario’s health care system an estimated $2.2 billion dollars in direct healthcare costs and an additional $5.3 billion in indirect costs such as lost productivity.

For more information please visit our website at www.hnhu.org.  To report a complaint, please call 519-426-6170 Ext. 3202.

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Media contact:

Amy Jones

Tobacco Enforcement Officer

Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit

[email protected]

(519)426-6170 Ext. 3202