October 18, 2007

York Regional Council passes Children and Smoke-Free Cars resolution


Resolution seeks Smoke-Free Ontario Act amendment to ban smoking in cars carrying children


NEWMARKET York Regional Council today passed a resolution to further protect the health of children by requesting the provincial Ministry of Health Promotion to amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to ban smoking in vehicles carrying children.


Regional Council will also send the resolution to the Region's nine area municipalities seeking additional support.


"York Region is sending a strong message to the Province of Ontario that the health of all our residents is important, including children and those who can't speak for themselves," said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  "We strongly encourage this amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to protect the health of families in our community."


The World Health Organization and Health Canada agree that second-hand smoke causes cancer and is responsible for more than 1,000 deaths in non-smoking Canadians each year.  Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at a higher risk for illnesses, including asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, and experience increased incidences of cancer and heart disease in adulthood.


"Statistics show that almost half of all smokers smoke in their vehicles," said City of Vaughan Regional Councillor Joyce Frustaglio, Chair of the Region's Health and Emergency Medical Services Committee.  "We know that second-hand smoke puts the health of children at stake, and we have a moral obligation to protect them."


The Ontario Medical Association concludes that levels of second-hand smoke can be 23 times more concentrated in a vehicle than in a house because circulation is restricted within a small space.  Latest data from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit shows 78 per cent support for banning smoking in cars in Ontario.


"Second-hand smoke hurts everyone, but is particularly dangerous to babies and children because their lungs are still developing," said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region Medical Officer of Health and Director, Public Health Programs.

California and South Australia recently joined several United States jurisdictions banning smoking in cars carrying children. 


For more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act or any other health-related topic, please contact York Region Community and Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653.


For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca


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Media Contact:         Patrick Casey, Director, Corporate Communications, York Region

                                 Phone: 905 830-4444, ext. 1235 or Cell: 905 715-8211

                                 Email: patrick.casey@york.ca

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