Ottawa Public Health and bylaw officials want to ban all smoking on public beaches, parks, outdoor patios and terraces and any other municipal properties, according to a report released Monday.
There were three specific recommendations made. They are:
- Increasing cessation services and programs for all residents.
- Expanding Ottawa’s smoke-free regulations to make all municipal properties, including parks and beaches, and bar and restaurant patios smoke-free.
- Implementing public education campaigns and a community engagement strategy to decrease the number of youth who start smoking.
Public health officials came to these conclusions after holding five separate public consultations over three months looking for feedback, which wrapped up 10 days ago.
They said there was strong public support and referenced a 2011 Ipsos Reid poll that 77 per cent of respondents support smoke-free parks and playgrounds and smoke-free municipal properties and 73 per cent support smoke-free patios.
Report on smoking bylaw expansion rules out patio curfews
A report from Dr. Isra Levy, the city's chief medical officer of health, bylaw officials and Coun. Diane Holmes, chairwoman of the Ottawa Board of Health, also outlined why patio curfews will not work. That idea had been suggested in the past.
"Designated smoking areas and patio curfews are not recommended due to enforcement complexities, the health hazard of second-hand smoke and the risk of negative role modelling to children, especially in areas where they play," the report read.
The ban would not extend to roads and sidewalks, however.
Dr. Levy said the recommendations are aimed at protecting children and non-smokers from second hand smoke.
"We're doing this because second-hand smoke is a health hazard," said Levy.
"We know that it can be as toxic outdoors as indoors and sadly every year, close to a thousand people in Ottawa die of tobacco-related illnesses. We also know that smoke-free regulation works. There is strong correlation between smoke-free regulation and reduced smoking rates and reduced exposure to second-hand smoke, as well as an increase in attempts to quit smoking," he said.
15% of Ottawa residents smoke
The goal of the proposed bylaw is to prevent the dangers of second-hand smoke and decrease the number of smokers in Ottawa, which is almost 15 per cent of residents or about 105,000 people.
The smoking rate has levelled off since 2005 after declining constantly in earlier years.
They will present their recommendations to the board of health Feb. 6. before going to the community and protective services committee on Feb. 15. If it passes committee, city council will look at the proposal Feb. 22.
Two east Ottawa councillors, Stephen Blais and Bob Monette, have already publicly debated a stricter smoking ban.