Smoking ban in vehicles carrying children

Doctors seek Ontario legislation

By Lauren La Rose

Canadian Press Feb. 1 2007


Ontario residents are ready for a ban on smoking in vehicles carrying children, and it’s time for the provincial government to enforce one, a representative of the Ontario Medical Association said Wednesday.

“What we’re finding is that the public is heavily on side for this and is coming more heavily on side with time,” sid Dr. Ted Broadway, a health consultant for OMA, which represents 25,000 doctors across the province.

“And we’re also seeing some other communities in North America in particular are beginning to take this up and do something about it, and we haven’t yet in Ontario.”

Broadway cited figures from the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit that showed support in the province for such a ban increased from 68 per cent in 2002 to 78 per cent in 2005.

Sixty – six per cent of Ontario smokers and 81 per cent of non-smokers supported the ban in 2005, compared to 50 per cent and 73 per cent, respectively, in 2002. The OMA issued a statement to follow in the footsteps of Bangor, Maine, which approved a new law Jan. 8 prohibiting people from smoking in vehicles transporting children.

Violators face fines up to $50 US.

Ontario doctors said Wednesday they applaud the province’s smoking ban that went into effect last year, but added that more must be done to increase awareness that adult tobacco use is also a child health problem.

A 2004 report by the OMA found that second-hand smoke is 23 times more toxic in a car than in a house.

“The fact is that in cars you reach some of the highest toxic levels of these poisons that you reach anywhere,” Broadway said.

Even very short exposure to second-hand smoke can trigger an asthmatic attack in children, while effects on lung health have a long-term impact, Broadway said.

Those are things you can’t measure at the time, but unfortunately have catastrophic effects later”

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