Banning smoking in City

The City of Red Deer can become one of the leaders when it comes to combating the issue of public smoking.

The City of Edmonton recently approved a new bylaw to ban smoking at area playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor facilities frequented by children.

This new bylaw is the strongest in Alberta.

Red Deer City council needs to follow suit and even go farther by banning smoking on the trails and at outdoor events.

Children should never be exposed to second-hand smoke and neither should those who choose not to smoke for that matter. Yet, often those people are exposed merely by just frequenting the City.

Smoking is no longer permitted in restaurants, pubs or bars, however when leaving these establishments patrons often have to walk through a cloud of smoke just outside the front doors as smokers gather to enjoy a puff.

To date, dozens of Canadian communities have banned smoking in a variety of outdoor spaces including Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Halifax.

The organization Action on Smoking and Health is concerned about the rise in youth smoking rates in Alberta over the past several years. According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, smoking rates among Alberta youth aged 12 to 19 increased from 11% in 2008 to 14% in 2010. The Alberta government’s target for 2010 was to reduce youth smoking to 10%.

Public smoking restrictions are a proven strategy to help discourage tobacco use and to reduce smoking onset by adolescents. The recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Reducing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults concludes that smoke-free laws contribute to reduced tobacco use among youth.

A 2010 telephone survey of 1,203 Albertans conducted by the University of Alberta Population Research Lab found that 69% of respondents supported smoking bans at all outdoor public spaces.

Last month, the Alberta Legislative Assembly passed a bill to ban smoking in motor vehicles containing children under the age of 18.

Officials with ASH have said tobacco is the leading avoidable cause of disease, disability and premature death in Alberta resulting in 3,000 deaths annually. Tobacco has no safe level of consumption, it is highly addictive, and it is the only legal product that kills one-half of its long term users when used as directed by its manufacturers. About 50,000 Alberta youth between the ages of 12 and 19 are currently smokers according to the Canadian Community Health Survey.

We hope that City council gets on board and follows Edmonton’s lead. It’s only for the betterment of our community as a whole.

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