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LETTER: Smoke-free outdoor public places

Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor.
Contact The Guardian to submit a letter to the Editor. - SaltWire Network


There is no right to smoke in Canadian law, and no risk-free level of second-hand smoke (SHS), even outdoors. Second-hand smoke can immediately impact the health of others, and be a barrier to access a business, or healthcare at medical clinic, pharmacy, and hospital, "properties," including grounds, sidewalks, parking areas, and in vehicles. Second-hand smoke causes "preventable" chronic disease, environmental sensitivity, lung and breast cancers, and 25 premature deaths per year, of Island non-smokers.

Government needs to take responsibility to provide safe healthy environments, strengthen the Smoke-Free Places Act to include smoke-free outdoor public places, visible signage, enforcement with fines, raise tobacco tax to fund cessation programs, control vaping and flavored products that addict youth to nicotine, and raise the legal age to purchase to 21. To keep indoor air smoke-free, smoke cannot enter building entrances, patios/doors, windows, and air-intakes, including multi-unit dwellings. A custody case ruled children have the right to be raised in a smoke-free environment. No one should sacrifice their health to access a business, for affordable housing, or healthcare. Smoke-free outdoor public places, including sidewalks, parking lots, parks, playgrounds, beaches, trails, bus stops/shelters, outdoor workplaces, golf courses, and outdoor events, allow healthy recreation that benefits everyone.

Second-hand smoke prevents many from living a healthy life. Second-hand smoke triggers severe asthma attacks, so I avoid public places that do not restrict smoking. Smoke-free public places, including business "properties," allow safe access and inclusion. Allowing smoking in public areas is negligent. Eighty-five per cent of Islanders are non-smokers. Only 100 per cent smoke-free protects public health.

Pam Hall,

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