May 29, 2002

No-Smoking By-law marks anniversary

NEWMARKET - June 1, 2002 marks the first anniversary of smoke-free public places in York Region. One year ago, the second phase of the York Region No-Smoking By-law came into effect, making certain classes of public places such as restaurants, theatres, recreation facilities and retail stores smoke-free.

"The No-Smoking By-law is first and foremost a public health measure to protect our residents from the harmful effects of second-hand tobacco smoke," said Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of the York Region Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee. "The debate has recently strayed from its original purpose into discussions about rights and economics. We will continue to listen attentively to these discussions, but now we must refocus our efforts on the health issue of second-hand smoke."

"As a community, we have worked very hard this past year towards making exposure to second-hand smoke a thing of the past," said Dr. Helena Jaczek, York Region Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Health Services. "And as a Region, we remain committed to promoting and protecting the health of our residents."

Research indicates that the majority of York Region residents support smoke-free public places. An Environics Research Group survey of residents completed in November 2001 reported that 87% of respondents support smoke-free restaurants and 72% support smoke-free bars. The anniversary campaign provides an opportunity for these supportive voices to be heard.

In honour of the anniversary, residents and businesses are being offered a non-adhesive "cling" decal that can be placed on any window to show support of a smoke-free York Region. The decals can be picked up at the York Region No-Smoking By-law display at local malls throughout the month of June or by calling York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.

Residents are invited to visit and pick up a decal from the York Region No-Smoking By-law mall display on the following dates, during regular mall hours:

Studies indicate that second-hand-smoke is more toxic than the smoke inhaled directly by smokers. Second-hand smoke is emitted at a lower temperature, resulting in incomplete combustion and higher toxicity. Additionally, second-hand smoke particles are smaller and are thereby breathed deeper into the lungs, causing a non-smoker to inhale ten times more carbonylic compounds than a smoker inhales directly. Of these chemicals, at least 43 are suspected carcinogens. Smoke-free public places eliminate the exposure of non-smokers to the health dangers of second-hand smoke.

The York Region No-Smoking By-law came into effect January 26, 2001. As of that date, no smoking is permitted in any workplace in York Region. The same applies to public places as defined by the By-law, with provisions, or phases, in place to ease the transition to becoming smoke-free facilities. The second phase of the By-law occurred June 1, 2001 when certain classes of public places such as restaurants, food courts, theatres, recreation facilities, bowling alleys and retail stores became smoke-free. The third and final phase of the By-law will occur June 1, 2004 when public places such as bars, billiard halls, casinos and bingo halls become smoke free. Public facilities retain the option, if they choose, to construct an enclosed and separately ventilated Designated Smoking Room (DSR), provided the DSR meets the criteria outlined in the York Region No-Smoking By-law.

The By-law anniversary date coincides with World No-Tobacco Day (WNTD), held annually each May 31st. Sponsored by the World Health Organization, WNTD is an annual event intended to raise awareness of tobacco addiction. For details on WNTD, visit the Ontario Tobacco-free Network at

For information about the I support a smoke-free York Region decal, the York Region

No-Smoking By-law or any other health-related issue contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or 905-895-8004.

For details on The Regional Municipality of York, the services we offer and links to our nine area municipalities, please visit


Contact: Kim Clark, York Region Health Services

905-830-4444 Ext. 4101

Information source:
Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking: Lung Cancer and Other Disorders, EPA/600/6-90/006F, December 1992

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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