Proposed Smoke-Free Cars Bill Gets Green Light from Ontario Lung Association



    TORONTO, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - The Lung Association announced today its
unwavering support for the proposed Private Member's Bill that would see
amended the Smoke-Free Ontario Act to protect children under the age of 16
from second-hand smoke in private motor vehicles. The Lung Association
applauds Liberal MPP David Orazietti for his leadership in bringing forward
proposed changes to this important policy issue and promises to give 100
per cent support to ensure the Bill is passed.
    The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits tobacco use in public places such as
offices, restaurants and nightclubs. Currently, however there is no
jurisdiction over a person's private vehicle leaving individuals the choice to
smoke or not while others, including children, are in the vehicle exposed to
the harmful effects of second-hand smoke. According to the 2006 Canadian
Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 25 per cent of Canadians reported being exposed
to cigarette smoke in the car.
    "Second-hand smoke is a leading cause of lung cancer," says George Habib,
President & CEO of the Ontario Lung Association, "that costs more than
1100 people their lives every year. As a society, our job is to protect our
children. We can no longer tolerate knowing that children in Ontario are being
exposed to more than 4000 dangerous chemicals found in cigarette smoke within
the family vehicle. The devastating effects of this kind of exposure are a
time bomb waiting to go off. It's against the law to transport a child without
a proper car seat. The same child safety principles should apply to the very
air children breathe."

    
    The proposed Bill would amend the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2006 by adding a
section that:

    -   Restricts anyone smoking or carrying lighted tobacco in a private
        motor vehicle while a person who is under 16 years of age is present
        in the vehicle;

    -   Is enforced by police officers and/or other officers carrying out the
        provisions of the Highway Traffic Act.

    -   Imposes fines up to $200 for the first offence and up to $1,000 for a
        second or subsequent conviction.
    

    Since 2002 there has been growing support for banning cigarette smoke in
vehicles. A recent survey commissioned by the Ontario Tobacco-free Network,
conducted by Ipsos Reid indicated that 86 per cent of non-smokers and 66
per cent of smokers support this type of legislation. Wolfville, Nova Scotia
led the country by recently passing a bylaw restricting smoking in private
vehicles carrying children under the age of 18. The provinces of British
Columbia and Nova Scotia are both considering similar Bills that have been put
forth.
    "Children are particularly at-risk of developing health problems from
second-hand smoke for a number of reasons," says Dr. John Granton, a
specialist in lung disease and critical care at the University Health Network
and Ontario Lung Association spokesperson. "Children breathe in more air
relative to their body weight; their immune systems are immature, their lung
function is actively developing and, importantly, they are powerless to
complain or to leave a smoke-polluted environment. We know that children who
are exposed to second-hand smoke have a greater risk of developing asthma,
wheezing and ear infections. We would not tolerate these risks to our children
from an industry that was next door; we should not tolerate them in our home
environments."
    The Lung Association is a formidable advocate for youth regarding
tobacco-related issues. Its Youth Advocacy Training Institute (YATI) teaches
more than 1700 youth across the province how to advocate for tobacco control
and provides comprehensive training and tools in which to assist them. As a
member of the Ontario Tobacco-free Network, The Lung Association helps support
local communities with their local tobacco control initiatives.
    Anyone wishing to voice his or her support for this Bill is asked to
email The Lung Association at Smoke-freeCars@on.lung.ca.

    About The Lung Association:

    The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit
health-promotion organizations. The Lung Association is concerned with the
prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and
with air quality and its effect on lung health. The Ontario Lung Association
was incorporated in 1945, and has community offices across the province. Visit
the Ontario Lung Association online at www.on.lung.ca, or call 1-800-972-2636
for more information.





For further information:

For further information: Karen Petcoff, Office: (416) 864-9911 ext 283,
Cellular: (416) 275-6844

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