The Hub December 2016/January 2017 - Page 6

Windsor Essex County Health Unit Clear the air we share On November 21, 2016, the City of Windsor took a step forward in protecting the health of residents with the passing of an enhanced Smoke-free Outdoor Space Bylaw. The original bylaw, passed in 2006, was outdated and in many ways was surpassed by the level of restrictions provided at the provincial level through the Smoke-free Ontario Act (SFOA). Through the passing of this enhanced bylaw, smoking as well as the use of affiliated products like electronic cigarettes and hookah/water pipes, is now prohibited in all City of Windsor parks, beaches, trails, bus shelters, boat ramps/marinas, recreation centres, conservation areas and community gardens. With this change the City of Windsor is now the seventh local municipality and one of 128 municipalities province-wide with a bylaw that extends smoking protections beyond what is covered under the Smoke-free Ontario Act. With 7000 chemicals and over 70 cancer-causing agents in secondhand smoke, there is no safe level of exposure whether you are indoors or out. In fact, depending on factors like weather and air flow, tobacco smoke can be detected from up to 30 feet away. Children are at an increased risk for exposure to these toxins as they are less likely to leave a smoke-filled space or complain about irritation to their breathing or comfort. In addition, by encouraging healthy behaviours in spaces where children frequent, the perception among them that smoking is a part of everyday culture and acceptable in public spaces is lessened. Factors like these are Windsor, Essex, Lakeshore, LaSalle, Leamington and Tecumseh all have smoke-free outdoor bylaws in place. To view them, click here: part of the reason that youth uptake of smoking is lower than it has ever been in our province, but there are benefits for adults as well. For those who are looking to quit, smoke-free policies like these can reduce exposure to smoking behaviour and help to make their quit attempts successful. Traditional tobacco uses (e.g., cigarettes) have been the focus of smoke-free policies in the past; however, it is also important to account for new and emerging trends in smoking behaviours as there is currently very little known about how these products affect the health of their users. One such trend is smoking or vaping electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). Recently the sale of these products to minors was prohibited with the passing of the Electronic Cigarettes Act, but the responsibility for regulating their use in public spaces rests with each municipality. With the passing of the amended bylaw, the City of Windsor established itself as a leader in passing one of the first bylaws restricting public use of these products in the province. In order to ensure that these new regulations are being followed, Tobacco Enforcement Officers from the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit will be on regular patrol of the spaces where smoking is prohibited. For more information or to report someone smoking in a prohibited area, visit the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) website at www.wechu.org or call the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention Department at 519-258-2146 ext. 3100. For timely updates about health issues in your community follow the WECHU on Facebook and Twitter @theWECHU 6 The HUB -December 2016/January 2017