News Release

June 27, 2007

Smoking Ban in Federal Prisons a healthy step forward

(Ottawa) – Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) applauded the decision by Corrections Canada to ban smoking in federal prisons.

"Prison guards and prison inmates deserve the same health protection as all Canadians," said PSC executive director, Cynthia Callard.  "They should not be forced to assume the very real and very dangerous risks of breathing second-hand smoke as a condition of employment or a condition of their prison sentence."

"This is a very welcome development that will have real and lasting benefit for thousands of Canadian workers and citizens," said Callard. "Smoke-free policies provide safer living environments for  both smokers and non-smokers."

In early 2006, Corrections Canada implemented a ban on smoking indoors in Canadian prisons.  Because inmates continued to be allowed to smoke outdoors, and could continue to have tobacco products and matches in their cells, the ban on smoking indoors was not enforceable.  As a result, prisoners and guards continued to be exposed to second-hand smoke, despite the intention of the indoor-only ban.  Provincial prisons (with the exception of those in Quebec) have mostly imposed indoor and outdoor smoking bans.

PSC is encouraging federal prisons to implement the ban ahead of the announced April 2008 implementation date.  "It should not have taken 17 months to determine how to correct this problem, and it should not take an additional 10 months to implement the correction," explained Ms. Callard.

She noted that this significant advance brings Canada closer to fully implementing its responsibilities under the global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.  Article 8 of that treaty requires the government of Canada to provide protection from second hand smoke in areas under its jurisdiction

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