Sep 24, 2013

By Jane Brown

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A wider outdoor smoking ban is being considered at Toronto City Hall.  Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, Doctor David McKeown, is urging city council and the province to ban smoking from a number of outdoor spaces, including restaurant and bar patios, beaches, sports fields and entrances to public buildings.  Dr. McKeown tells the CBC, “these spaces all share a few characteristics.  They’re places where when there are multiple people smoking, the exposure to second hand smoke can actually be quite significant, where that exposure can be experienced by children and families and where it’s difficult to avoid just by moving away.”

The comprehensive strategy for a more smoke-free Toronto follows consultations with the public and restaurant owners.  Councillor Joe Mihevc is the chair of the city’s health board, which will consider the recommendations next week.  He says they are “the next stop in trying to control and cut back on the amount of illness and death that come from tobacco smoke.”  Other Ontario municipalities, including Ottawa, have amended bylaws to ban smoking on restaurant patios. A spokesperson for Health Minister Deb Matthews did not commit to consider the recommendations by Doctor David McKeowen if they are approved but says the province is “always looking for new ways to keep Ontarians healthy.”

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