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CLEARING THE AIR

- Area Residents Reminded About Expanded Ban on Smoking That Takes Effect in January -

People can breathe a little easier in 2015, thanks to an expanded ban on smoking in public places.

Local residents are reminded about the changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act that took effect on the first of January, 2015. It is now illegal to smoke on or around children’s playgrounds, as well as publicly-owned sports fields and surfaces such as ice rinks and swimming pools. Smoking is also banned on all bar and restaurant patios at all times (whether covered or not). The sale of tobacco products is also banned on all university and college campuses in Ontario.

People caught smoking or holding a lit tobacco product in a banned area could face a fine of at least $305, and up to $1,000. As well, restaurant owners, operators and managers could be fined if anyone smokes on the patios of their establishments.

“These changes will help clear the air and ensure children and young people are protected from the effects of deadly tobacco smoke,” says Lorne Jordan, a Tobacco Control Officer with the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act first took effect on May 31, 2006, making all enclosed public places and workplaces in Ontario 100 per cent smoke-free. Rates of smoking have been on the decline ever since, notes Jordan. While nearly one-quarter of all Ontarians smoked in 2000, the provincial smoking rate had dropped to 18.1 per cent in 2013 (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).

With tobacco-related diseases costing Ontario’s health care system an estimated $2.2 billion in direct health care costs, lower smoking rates add up to less illness, fewer preventable early deaths, and savings in tax dollars. As Jordan notes, “Smoking bans are a good investment in better health.”

For more information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, or for resources to help quit smoking, call the Health Unit at 1-866-888-4577 or visit www.hkpr.on.ca.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Lorne Jordan, Tobacco Control Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100,

or Kris Kadwell, Tobacco Control Officer, HKPR District Health Unit, (705) 457-1391.

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