Ontario Doctors Welcome Premier's Support to Ban Smoking in Cars with Children

    Over 50 municipalities in the province have also called for a province-
    wide ban

    TORONTO, Feb. 26 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors welcome signs of support or a
ban on smoking in cars with children from Premier Dalton McGuinty and once
again encourage his government to support MPP David Orazietti's private
member's bill to implement a ban. Since the release of the Ontario Medical
Association's (OMA) 2004 report Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke: Are we
protecting our kids? doctors have been advocating to protect children from
toxic concentrations of second-hand smoke (SHS) in vehicles.
    "Today's indication from the Premier of Ontario that he is seriously
considering banning smoking in cars with children is great news," said Dr.
Janice Willett, President of the OMA. "Doctors have been working diligently to
not only advocate for legislation to protect children, but to educate the
public about the devastating health impacts of second-hand smoke in a car."
    In December 2007, the OMA initiated a campaign to garner the support of
municipal leaders to endorse a province-wide ban on smoking in cars with
children. As a result of the campaign, more than 50 municipalities in Ontario
have passed resolutions in support for a provincial ban. Since the OMA first
recommended this ban, many other health-care groups have also joined the call
to protect children from SHS in cars.
    "We have seen a ground-swell of support from political leaders and
health-care organizations, but more importantly, the public thinks this is the
right thing to do," said Dr. Willett. "The majority of smokers and non-smokers
see the importance of protecting children from the damaging effects of
second-hand smoke in such high concentrations."
    Studies show that even under the best-case ventilation scenario, with
windows open and the fan on high, SHS concentrations in a vehicle are far
greater than any other children's environment. Tests reveal that with no
ventilation, which is typical of winter driving in Ontario, SHS particle
levels can be up to 60 times higher than in a smoke-free home.
    For children, the risks associated with SHS include respiratory illnesses
(asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia), middle ear disease, lower respiratory
tract infections, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and increased
incidences of cancer and heart disease in adulthood.
    "The provincial government has been a leader in protecting Ontarians from
second-hand smoke in work places and in public spaces," said Dr. Willett. "We
ask that they take this important next step to further protect our most
vulnerable members of society from the dangers of second-hand smoke."

For further information:

For further information: OMA media relations at (416) 340-2862 or
toll-free at 1-800-268-7215 ext. 2862

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