Ontario Should Act to Protect Children from Second-Hand Smoke

    Children are still at risk for exposure to second-hand smoke in homes and

    TORONTO, Jan. 31 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors are urging the provincial
government to follow in the footsteps of the recent decision in Bangor, Maine
to ban smoking in vehicles transporting children. The 2004 OMA report entitled
"Exposure to second-hand smoke: are we protecting our kids?" revealed that
children continue to be at risk as a result of exposure to second-hand smoke
(SHS) in homes and vehicles.
    "A lot has been done to protect the public and workers from second-hand
smoke in Ontario, but children continue to be exposed to the dangers of adult
tobacco use," said Dr. David Bach, President of the Ontario Medical
Association. "If other jurisdictions are willing to legislate this kind of
health protection, so should we."
    Numerous studies show that the impact of SHS on child health is
significant. Among the risks are 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.
    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. Children experience higher internal exposure
to SHS because of their high respiratory rates.
    Ontario doctors applaud the provincial government's leadership in
implementing a province-wide smoking ban; doctors feel that more must be done
to increase awareness that adult tobacco use is also a child health problem.
    "The longer we wait to take measures to protect Ontario children from
second-hand smoke, the longer they will suffer from preventable illnesses,"
said Dr. Bach. "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."
    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: OMA Media Relations at (416) 340-2862 or toll
free at 1-800-268-7215

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