Public consultations to be held on proposed smoking ban expansion
Toronto’s board of health will launch a series of public consultations on a proposed expansion of the city’s smoking ban.
The board came to the decision after reviewing a report calling for an expansion of the city's anti-smoking by-laws at their meeting Monday afternoon.
The public consultations will be held next year and the city’s chief medical officer, Dr. David McKeown, will release the results of the consultations in early 2013. City council will later vote on the expansion.
Under the proposed expansion, smokers would be prohibited from smoking on hospital property, public fields, restaurant patios and the entrances and exits of most city buildings.
McKeown told reporters the ban will help fight the detrimental effects of second-hand smoke.
“Smoking in public places does two things: it exposes non-smokers to second-hand smoke which we know has a negative impact on health,” he said. “Secondly it normalizes smoking. When young people see a crowd of people enjoying themselves it reinforces the notion that smoking is OK.”
Presently, smokers across the province are bound by the terms of Smoke Free Ontario Act, passed in 2006.
The city passed its own regulations in 2009, extending the ban to include areas near playgrounds, wading pools and splash pads as well as farms and zoos operated by the municipality. Bylaws also prohibit lighting up in commercial vehicles and indoor workplaces.
Representatives from the restaurant industry said a ban expansion could cut into their business.
“We’ve heard anecdotally from these customers that they may decide to stay home and socialize and smoke at home,” said Marco Monaco of the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association. “We would suffer.”
Residents had mixed feelings about an expansion to the existing laws.
“It’s a person’s right if they want to smoke or whatever. It’s their own decision,” said one male resident.
“I think that’s great,” said another male resident. “Those who chose to smoke they’re doing it on their own basis, knowing the risks involved.”
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Colin D’Mello