Action on Smoking and Health - Canadian Cancer Society - Canadian Council for Tobacco Control - Canadian Lung Association - Canadian Medical Association - Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac - Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada - Non-Smokers' Rights Association - Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco - Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
July 24, 2002
Billions of Breaths of Clean Air Later
(Ottawa) – The Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco today congratulated the people and the City of Ottawa for their success in building a smoke-free community.
“In less than a year since the smoke-free bylaws came into effect, Ottawa has become a healthier place to live,” said Ken Kyle, speaking for the Canadian Cancer Society. “For thousands of wait-staff and hundreds of thousands of patrons, Ottawa’s restaurants and bars have become both safer and more enjoyable.”
On August 1, 2001, Ottawa’s 100% smoke-free by-laws came into effect. The Ottawa law protect workers and patrons in all venues, including bars, restaurants, private clubs, gaming establishments, and all other public places. Ottawa is the largest Canadian community to go 100% smoke-free.
“Ottawa city council wisely chose a ‘gold standard’ for public and worker health,” said Tom Barber of the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control. Other communities have chosen not to extend protection to workers and patrons of adult-only establishments. “This level playing-field is not only the best way to regulate business, it is also just and fair to give all workers the same level of protection from second-hand smoke.”
“Smoke-Free Ottawa is a success,” said Dr. Atul Kapur of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. ”Overall, the shift to a smoke-free community has been achieved with enthusiasm, good-will and common sense. This reflects the leadership of elected officials, of city government, of the business community and of the citizens of Ottawa.
The coalition stressed the importance of smoke-free policies to public and individual health. “Across North America we are now beginning to recognize the health benefits of avoiding all exposure to cigarette smoke", said Dr. Elinor Wilson, Chief Science Officer of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "In Ottawa, this is now a realistic option".
"Physicians witness everyday the devastating consequence of first hand and second hand tobacco use on Canadians. That is why we applaud the City of Ottawa for showing true leadership by going smoke-free" stated Dr. Henry Haddad, President of the Canadian Medical Association. "We believe that concrete actions which are an integral part of a tobacco cessation strategy will have health benefits and protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke." Dr.Haddad concluded.
Health Canada estimates that, for non-smokers, exposure to second-hand smoke increases the risk of lung cancer by 25% and of heart disease by 10%.
To celebrate the success of this public health initiative, the Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco presented the city of Ottawa with a commemorative award and specially-labelled bottles of 100% smoke-free Ottawa air.
The Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco is an umbrella group of several national and provincial health agencies that work together to reduce the consequences of tobacco use. Smoking remains Canada’s largest preventable cause of death, responsible for 45,000 premature Canadian deaths each year. At least 1,100 Canadians die annually from lung cancer and heart disease caused by inhaling second-hand smoke.
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