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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2017 | 10:00 a.m. | Windsor and Essex County
 
With the passing of the new smoke-free outdoor spaces by-law in Amherstburg on December 12, all Windsor-Essex County municipalities now have protections in place that exceed those offered under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. By supplementing the work done at the provincial level, the municipalities of Windsor-Essex County have enhanced the level of protections from second hand smoke and smoking behaviour while providing a more clear and consistent set of guidelines for those who smoke to know where the behaviour is permitted across our region.

Under the Smoke-free Ontario Act, the smoking of tobacco is prohibited in all indoor workplaces or public places and in outdoor spaces such as bar/restaurant patios and 20 metres from playgrounds and sport-fields. Municipal smoke-free bylaws expand these regulations into other outdoor public spaces with many including all park properties, as well as beaches, recreation facilities, playgrounds, trails, and pathways. The definition of smoking has also been expanded in these by-laws to include new products like electronic cigarettes, as well as other lighted or heated smoking equipment like hookahs or water-pipes.

Tobacco smoke contains over 250 harmful chemicals and over 69 of these are known to be directly linked to cancer. Increased exposure to any of these toxins is unsafe, and so smoke-free outdoor space bylaws regulations protect our most vulnerable populations in the areas in which they aim to be healthy and active (e.g., parks and beaches). In addition, by reducing exposure to smoking and tobacco use in the public spaces we provide a supportive environment for those looking to quit and send a message to children that tobacco use is not a normal part of everyday life.

“Windsor-Essex has always been on the forefront of tobacco control measures in Ontario,” says Eric Nadalin, Manager of the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention department at the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.  “With all municipalities having expanded protections in place we continue to set the bar high for the rest of the Ontario and hope to prompt additional action at the provincial level. Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of death and there remains much more work to do in protecting our community and the rest of the province from tobacco-related harms.”

For more information on smoke-free spaces in Windsor-Essex County, or to find out the regulations in your municipality, visit www.wechu.org