Butt Out When Cars Contain Children

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In 2003/04, MPP Garfield Dunlop “floated a proposal…to snuff out smoking in cars occupied by children” but subsequently decided after “his office was deluged with a barrage of “nasty” e-mails from constituents” that “legislation banning the practice would have a better chance of success if spearheaded by the OMA, rather than as a private member’s bill” (‘Smoking Bans in Cars Carrying Children Gains Support‘; ASH; 2004/10/20).

In 2004 the OMA released a final report called “Exposure to second-hand smoke: are we protecting our kids?” It says that the risk of children contracting respiratory illness and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is higher when they’re exposed to SHS (2nd-hand smoke) in vehicles. That’s because the toxicity of smoke in cars can be 23 times greater than in a house! SHS is also blamed for increased numbers of adult cancer and heart disease.

Just last month, Wolfville, N.S. became the first municipality in Canada to ban smoking in cars when they are carrying children. First-time offenders get a warning, but repeat offenders face a $50 fine.

Is Wolfville serious about the danger to children, or is it just making a token gesture? It seems to me that a $50 fine might be appropriate for the 1st offence, but there needs to be a stronger message sent to repeat offenders.

At the 2007/11/26 CAPS Committee meeting, Councillor Bernie MacDonald tabled a “No Smoking in Cars with Children Present” report (Town of Wolfville, N.S., 2007/09/25) and inquired about whether a bylaw could be implemented here. CAPS unanimously approved referral of the report “to the City Solicitor for report back at a future meeting of the CPSC as to how the City of London might implement restrictions on smoking in vehicles with children present.” After it returns to CAPS it’s expected to go before City Council.

Links:
1996/11 – OMA: SHS Position Paper
2003/02 – OMA: SHS Position Paper
2004/ – OMA: SHS Position Paper
2007/02/02 – Globe&Mail: Ontario rejects car-smoking ban
2007/11/27 – CBC: Councillor Bernie MacDonald interview (audio)
2007/11/28 – OMA: Time for Ontario to act to protect children’s health
2007/11/29 – LondonTopic: London applauded for initiative…
2007/12/06 – Toronto Star: ‘MPP: Ban smoking in cars with kids’
2007/12/06 – CTV: MPP bill calls for smoking ban in cars with minors
2007/12/06 – SooToday: Orazietti’s bill would let cops pull you over for smoking
2007/12/06 – OMA: …calls on all MPPs to support bill…

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