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May 10, 2004
Province urged to implement province-wide smoking ban as City prepares final phase of No Smoking By-law
Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Toronto's Acting Medical Officer of Health, is calling on
the provincial government to enact a province-wide smoking ban and to phase out
designated smoking rooms (DSRs) by 2007. If the province does not pass such
legislation within a year, Dr. Yaffe recommends that City Council amend its
by-law to close DSRs by 2007.

Dr. Yaffe's recommendations are contained in an update on the implementation of
the City's No Smoking By-law presented to the Board of Health today.

"Municipalities across the province have different smoking by-laws or none at
all, a situation that confuses residents and is unfair to the hospitality
industry. In view of all the evidence about the health impacts of smoking, it's
time we had a level playing field for smoke-free public spaces across Ontario,"
said Dr. Yaffe.

The final phase of Toronto's by-law takes effect on June 1. All bars, billiard
and bingo halls, casinos and the racetrack are required to be smoke-free,
except for approved DSRs. The Regions of York and Peel have by-laws on the same
phase-in schedule as Toronto, with restaurants smoke-free since 2001.

Peel Region has decided to eliminate DSRs in 2010. Durham Region goes
smoke-free on June 1, and will allow DSRs in casinos, bingo halls and
racetracks, but not in restaurants or bars.

Dr. Yaffe also presented a Health Status Report on tobacco use in Toronto.
Among the report's findings:
· nearly 3,000 Toronto residents die every year from smoking-related causes
· between 20 and 25 per cent of Toronto adults are smokers
· while smoking rates among Toronto youth have declined from 20.6 per cent in
1999 to 15.5 per cent in 2003, the prevalence still increases almost seven fold
between Grades 7 and 12
· exposure to second-hand smoke is a serious and preventable health risk.

The report outlines Toronto Public Health's tobacco control program designed to
address the chronic disease epidemic caused by the use of tobacco products. The
No Smoking By-law is one initiative in a range of health promotion and
protection activities involving community partners, including quit-smoking
clinics and other educational campaigns.

Media contact:
Mary Margaret Crapper, Toronto Public Health, 416-338-7873



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