Ontario's doctors applaud Sault MPP for taking action to protect children's health

    OMA calls on all MPPs to support bill banning smoking in cars with kids

    TORONTO, Dec. 6 /CNW/ - Ontario's doctors welcome the first steps towards
protecting the health and well-being of children in Ontario. Sault Ste. Marie
MPP David Orazietti's private member's bill to ban smoking in cars carrying
children would make Ontario the first province in Canada to implement such a
law. The Ontario Medical Association (OMA) has been calling for a ban to
protect children from second-hand smoke (SHS) for several years.
    "Doctors are extremely happy to see leaders like David Orazietti making
the health of children a priority," said Dr. Willett, President of the OMA.
"By protecting the health of children now, we are setting them up with the
opportunity for higher quality of life as they grow in to adults."
    According to the OMA's 2004 report, "Exposure to second-hand smoke: are
we protecting our kids?" SHS in a vehicle is 23 times more toxic than in a
house due to the restricted area in which the air is circulated. SHS can
impact a child's respiratory health and birth weight, has been associated with
sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), and is a risk factor in the development
of cancer and heart disease later in life. SHS exposure can also influence a
child's ability to reason and understand and can negatively impact their
behaviour and attention span.
    In November 2007, Wolfville, Nova Scotia became the first municipality in
Canada, joining many cities in the U.S. and elsewhere, to ban smoking in cars
while children are present. The City of London has become the most recent
Ontario municipality to explore such a ban. Ontario's doctors commend the
provincial government for its work in implementing some of the toughest
Smoke-Free legislation in North America and strongly encourage MPPs to take a
leadership role by making Ontario the first province in Canada to ban smoking
in cars with children.
    "It is clear by the action taken in other communities that this is
possible," said Dr. Willet. "Now, Ontario has the opportunity to continue the
leadership it has shown in the past and become national leaders in protecting
children's health."
    Mr. Orazietti's bill focuses on primary enforcement and would give police
officers the authority to pull over a vehicle solely because an adult is
exposing a child to second-hand smoke. In comparison with bans in
jurisdictions such as the state of California where a vehicle must be pulled
over for another offence before an officer can enforce the smoking ban, this
legislation would go further to protect the health of children.

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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