TORONTO – Toronto’s Board of Health has approved a smoking ban that would limit smoking in most outdoor spaces.
The ban essentially restrict outdoor smoking to sidewalks. The item, proposed by Toronto Public Health, went before the board on Monday and was passed unanimously. It will now go to city council for final approval.
Dr. David McKeown, the city’s medical officer of health, recommended making the following outdoor spaces smoke-free:
- public building entrances and exits;
- outdoor sports fields and parks amenities;
- swimming beaches;
- public squares;
- bar and restaurant patios;
- and hospital grounds.
The health board is in charge of building entrances and exits and public squares, like Nathan Phillips Square and Yonge-Dundas Square.
Toronto’s Parks and Environment Committee will consider changes to sports fields, park amenities and swimming beaches on Oct. 23.
Dr. McKeown is also asking the health board to push for changes at the provincial level. He is asking the city to ask Health Minister Deb Matthews for changes to the 2006 Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The act covers bar and restaurant grounds and hospital grounds.
Dr. McKeown said in a staff report that many other municipalities in Ontario have similar or partial bans, and that a smoking ban has widespread public support.
Reaction from Mayor Rob Ford:
Mayor Ford says he is not a fan of the proposed smoking bylaw.
“I’m not a smoker, I don’t like it, but I just don’t like government getting involved, telling people where they can smoke,” he said, Monday.
“I’m not going to have a nanny state that the government’s going to tell you ‘you can do this, you can do that.’”
Ford says there are currently enough restrictions on smoking, and no further restrictions are required. In addition, he says he doesn’t know how much this would cost or how the new bylaw would be enforced.
“There’s a number of variables here that no one seems to have the answer for.”
Would you welcome such a ban? Share your thoughts in the comments.