Warman and Martensville adopt outdoor smoke-free bylaws: Health groups applaud their leadership
WARMAN, October 15, 2014: The cities of Warman and Martensville have made history by becoming the first Saskatchewan communities to protect citizens from second hand smoke in parks, playgrounds and sports fields. The bylaw, passed last night, also prohibits smoking on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars, and the use of electronic cigarettes anywhere smoking in banned. Both cities are committed to providing the public with information about the bylaw over the next few months before it takes effect on January 1, 2015. "This bylaw is just one more step toward the City of Warman's goal of a health smart and vibrant community for all," says Sheryl Spence, Mayor of Warman.
It has been more than 10 years since a Saskatchewan municipality adopted a new smoking bylaw. The last bylaw restricting smoking outdoors was in Saskatoon which banned smoking on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars. "The City of Martensville is a vibrant community that values active and health living. By jointly passing this bylaw with the City of Warman we are showing that not only do we value a healthy community but we believe as regional partners we can make a difference," said Kent Muench, Mayor of Martensville.
Health groups are applauding the move. "Smoke-free places protect the health of the community, while supporting people who want to quit smoking," says Jennifer Miller, Vice-President of Health Promotion for The Lung Association of Saskatchewan. "This is so important here in Saskatchewan where we continue to have the highest youth smoking rates in Canada."
Across Canada, many progressive municipalities have taken note of this and the trend has been growing. Four provinces (Alberta, Yukon, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland/Labrador) have banned smoking on outdoor patios of restaurants and bars. Dozens of municipalities have gone even further banning smoking in parks, playgrounds, on beaches, and other public places where people gather "We know from polling that the majority of Saskatchewan people support more smoke-free public places", says Natalie Gierman, Director, Health Policy and Research for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. "This is an issue where public opinion and public health say the same thing– it’s time. We encourage and would support other city and town councils to consider following the lead of Warman and Martensville."
Health groups believe that working with communities and government to bring about healthy public policies is a vital part of the fight against the growing social and economic burden of chronic diseases.
Mayor, City of Warman
Mayor, City of Martensville
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
Heart and Stroke Foundation