Recently, the Town of Stratford announced plans to launch a public consultation about going smoke free in all public spaces by May 2018.
At the Canadian Cancer Society, we advocate that there is no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke – even outdoors. Communities on P.E.I., particularly Stratford, have made tremendous progress protecting people from second-hand smoke. Stratford deserves great credit for its efforts to continue to reduce second-hand smoke exposure.
There are many benefits to smoke-free outdoor spaces. The unfortunate truth is just being near someone who is smoking puts you at higher risk of developing lung, larynx and pharynx cancers. Creating smoke-free outdoor spaces protects people — especially children — from second-hand smoke exposure. Research shows that when smoking bans have been implemented, smokers have chosen to quit or cut back. It also helps prevent children from thinking smoking is a normal, social activity. If children don’t see adults smoking, they are less likely to begin themselves.
Stratford’s Tobacco-Free Bylaw includes smoke-free areas not covered by the provincial legislation, including outdoor areas where children play, such as parks, playgrounds and sports fields. The Canadian Cancer Society is currently advocating the provincial government to expand the current Smoke-Free Places Act to include a provincial ban on smoking in outdoor spaces where people — particularly children — are often enjoying the outdoors. This change will ensure that all Islanders are protected from exposure to second-hand smoke, regardless of where they live in the province.
Canadian Cancer Society P.E.I.