Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Smoke-Free Ontario Act putting people who live in Apartment Buildings at Risk

When it comes to breathing in second hand smoke many of us already know the dangers that come along with inhaling the many toxins found in cigarettes. So in an effort to help protect it's citizens many years ago the Province of Ontario introduced the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. Which was created to help restrict the areas in which people are allowed to smoke. This is in place to help and protect people including children and youth from the harmful affects associated with second hand smoke. Currently the Smoke-Free Ontario Act restricts people from smoking in many public areas covering bar and restaurant outdoor patios, child care facilities, hospitals, schools, vehicles with children inside, common areas of hotels, motels and inn, around children’s playgrounds and multi-unit residences. 

The main reason why the Smoke-Free Ontario Act was put in place is to protect works and the public from exposure to second-hand smoke. Many place have also been required to remove all ash trays as well. Like many people I fully support the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. As someone living with Muscular Dystrophy breathing in second hand smoke can put me at risk. The last thing I ever want to have is issues with my lungs thanks to inconsiderate smokers. Now the Smoke-Free Ontario Act does go a long way in protect a small group of people from second-hand smoke. I do have to be completely honest that with all the good this act does it is still failing a major part of Ontario's population. That would be those of us who live in multi-unit residences mainly those living in apartment buildings. Currently multi-unit residences are included in the Act but the rules that apply simply don't go far enough. Currently the law states that you must not smoke in any common areas of condos, apartment buildings or college residences. This includes elevators, stairwells, hallways, parking garages, laundry facilities, lobbies, exercise areas and party or entertainment rooms. What it doesn't cover is apartment building entrances and exits. 

So after getting in touch with my local bylaw enforcement officers I learned that apartment building entrances are not covered in Ontario's Smoke-Free Act. They explained to me that multi-unit residences are treated the same way as people homes. Going on to further explain that the law prohibits them from telling people that they can't smoke at the entrances to there homes. They actually told me that apartment building entrances are not considered to be public spaces. Though the bylaw prohibit smoking in the common areas of multi-unit residences. Are they kidding me? I also brought up the issue of there being an ashtray at my building entrance. They told me that Ontario's Smoke-Free Act does not prohibit ashtrays outside the entrance of multi-unit residences. So I am sure you can guess where everyone who smokes in my building goes when they want to light up a cigarette. To make matters worse our apartment is on the ground floor with our windows next to where the entrance is - so when people smoke there and if the wind is blowing right way that toxic mix blows right into our apartment. To me it is very odd that who ever designed the Ontario's Smoke-Free Act decided to exempt apartment building entrances from the list of common areas. After all a common area is defined as an area which is available for use by more than one person. A common area should also include apartment building entrances since tenants and visitors share that area. So at this point in time Ontario's Smoke-Free Act is putting it citizens who live in Apartment Buildings at Risk. This means that the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy to greatly reduced tobacco use and lowered health risks to non-smokers in Ontario is failing over a million people who live in apartment buildings across this Province. 

Ontario Health Minister - Dr. Eric Hoskins
 So the time has come to bring this to the attention of Ontario's Health Minister Dr. Eric Hoskins. We need to let him know that it is his responsibility to take the health of those who live in apartment buildings more seriously. So at this time I would like to encourage Dr. Eric Hoskins to introduce new Smoke-Free legislation that adds condo and apartment building entrances to Ontario's Smoke-Free Act. And to require the removal off all ashtrays found at the entrances of every apartment building across the Province on Ontario.

This is why we have created a petition to help bring more attention to this issues. So I would like to ask that you sign this petition to show Dr. Eric Hoskins that this is an important issue that needs to be addressed.

Please sign this petition by visiting: today! 

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1 comment:

  1. Currently the Smoke-Free Ontario Act restricts people from smoking in many public areas covering bar and restaurant outdoor patios, cigarette allergies