Health groups advocate for smoke-free bylaws at SUMA convention Polling shows public support for outdoor smoke-free spaces

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Health groups advocate for smoke-free bylaws at SUMA convention Polling shows public support for outdoor smoke-free spaces

February 3, 2014, REGINA - As municipal representatives gather in Regina for the annual convention of the Saskatchewan Association of Urban Municipalities (SUMA), health groups are calling on elected officials to support policies that will improve public health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The Lung Association of Saskatchewan, Heart and Stroke Foundation and Canadian Cancer Society are urging delegates and other elected officials to take action by implementing outdoor smoke-free bylaws, including patios, parks, and other public spaces. "Over the next two days we will be meeting with as many delegates as possible to talk about the important role they play in making their communities healthier," says Jennifer Miller, Vice-President of Health Promotion for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan. "Healthier, vibrant communities are more productive and attract more business and tourists."

Health groups will also be sharing the results of a recent public opinion poll that found widespread support for bylaws that restrict smoking in outdoor places including:

  • 70% support ban on smoking on all outdoor patios at restaurants and bars
  • 91% support banning smoking on children's playgrounds
  • 81% support banning smoking on all sports fields (e.g. soccer pitchers, baseball diamonds, etc)
  • 87% support ban on smoking in any fixed seating or bleachers
  • 77% support smoking ban on municipal property used for public gatherings (e.g. festivals, concerts, exhibition grounds, etc)

Of the 442 municipalities attending the SUMA convention, only Saskatoon, back in 2004, has banned smoking on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars. As a result, a landmark report comparing cancer risk profiles found that Saskatoon has the lowest rate of second-hand smoke exposure of the 26 cities studied. Regina ranked 16.i "Smoke-free places protect the health of the community, while supporting smokers who want to quit." This is why we are challenging officials to take a more active role in the fight against cancer by supporting legislation that prevents cancer," says Donna Pasiechnik, Manager Tobacco Control with the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan.

A decade ago, because of the leadership of municipalities such as Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Saskatoon (the first communities to adopt smoke-free bylaws) the provincial government adopted similar legislation. "Today, public opinion is again telling policymakers to act. Most Saskatchewan people support more smoke-free public places", says Keisha Sharp, Health Promotion Specialist for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "This is an issue where public opinion and public health say the same thing - it's time."

Health groups believe that working with government and legislators to bring about healthy public policies is a vital part of the fight against chronic disease

Media contacts:

Jennifer Miller
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
306-361-7345

Melody Lynch
Heart and Stroke Foundation
306-244-6822 x 237

Donna Pasiechnik
Canadian Cancer Society
306-533-5288

Background on the Ipsos Reid Survey

The Ipsos Reid Online Omnibus survey consists of a random sample of more than 200,000 online panelists reflecting a typical and representative cross-section of Canadians. A total of 516 Saskatchewan residents were surveyed regarding their support for a ban on a variety of outdoor places during the week of December 13, 2013. The survey is accurate to within +/-4.9% 19 times out of 20.

The survey questions:

On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is ‘strongly oppose' and 5 is ‘strongly support' to what extent do you agree or disagree with the following:

  1. I would support a bylaw in my town/city to ban smoking on all outdoor patios at restaurants and bars.
  2. I would support a bylaw to ban smoking on children's playground.
  3. I would support a bylaw to ban smoking on all sports fields.
  4. I would support a bylaw in my town/city to ban smoking in any fixed seating or bleachers (e.g. stadiums).
  5. I would support a bylaw in my town/city to ban smoking on municipal property used for public gatherings (e.g. festivals, concerts, exhibition grounds, etc.)

i Population Health in Canada's Largest Cities: A Cancer System Performance Spotlight Report, Sept 2013. Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

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Page Last Updated: 03/02/2014