Ontario Must Protect Children from Smoke in Cars as New School Year Begins

    American and Australian jurisdictions pave way for banning smoking in
    cars with kids

    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are renewing their call for
the provincial government to protect Ontarians from Second-Hand Smoke (SHS) by
banning smoking in vehicles carrying children. With jurisdictions in the
United States and Australia legally recognizing a child's right to a
smoke-free car, doctors believe it is time for Ontario to follow their lead.
This call coincides with the beginning of the school year when many children
will be spending more time in cars on their way to school.
    "Ontario has made a lot of progress in implementing Smoke-Free
initiatives; however, we need to take steps to ensure that we are also
protecting the health of children," said Dr. Janice Willett, President of the
Ontario Medical Association (OMA). "It's important for children to have
healthy learning environments and this starts with their transportation to
    A ban on smoking in cars with children was passed by the California
Senate this past June and other jurisdictions in the United States such as
Arkansas; Louisiana; Bangor, Maine; Keyport, New Jersey; and Rockland County,
New York have also taken action to protect children from the dangers of SHS.
South Australia has also recently joined this group.
    Research shows that vehicles can be a potent source of SHS, where levels
of SHS can be 23 times more toxic than in a house because circulation is
restricted within a small space. The 2004 OMA report entitled "Exposure to
second-hand smoke: are we protecting our kids?" revealed that children exposed
to SSH are at a higher risk for respiratory illnesses including asthma,
bronchitis and pneumonia, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and
increased incidences of cancer and heart disease in adulthood.
    "As adults, it is our responsibility to protect children from preventable
illnesses," said Dr. Willett. "Let's expand on the leadership we've already
shown in Ontario to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke so that the lives of
children can be smoke-free too. With the right education and programs we can
protect children from the dangers of adult tobacco use."

    For more information on the OMA report "Exposure to second-hand smoke:
Are we protecting our kids?" please visit our website at www.oma.org.

For further information:

For further information: please contact OMA Media Relations at (416)
340-2862 or toll free at 1-800-268-7215.

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