Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

June 08, 2005 11:44 ET

Final Approval of Bill 164 Marks a New Era in Tobacco Control in Ontario: Health Agencies

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - June 8, 2005) - Today's anticipated vote to approve Third Reading of Bill 164, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, marks the beginning of a new era in tobacco control in Ontario, according to leading health agencies which have long advocated passage of the Bill.

The vote to approve the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, expected before Question Period today, will make virtually all public places and workplaces in the province 100% smoke-free as of May 31, 2006. It will also start a process toward a complete ban of retail displays of tobacco products on that date, which will be completed by May 31, 2008.

"Bill 164 will make nearly all workplaces and public places in the province 100% smoke-free," said Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. "The only exceptions are a few smoking rooms still functioning in long-term care facilities and psychiatric facilities, and hotel and motel rooms have still not been addressed. Other than these minor exceptions - and protection for workers is provided for in the Bill in the first two cases - we've reached our goal of a level playing field."

Perley also congratulated the government on strengthening the retail display ban provisions of Bill 164. "Going into April hearings on the Bill, there was no final date for a complete display ban. This would have left our kids exposed to tobacco industry products, and the message that they're normal and relatively harmless, indefinitely. Now, we have a drop-dead date for these displays of three years, which also allows plenty of time for adjustment by the retail sector."

The next steps in the full implementation of Bill 164 are the writing of regulations, particularly those concerning the transition period for retail displays and the regulation of smoking on outdoor patios, and the preparation of enforcement and public education plans.

The Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco is a coalition of provincial health agencies that have been working together since the early '90s in support of the implementation of effective tobacco control policies in the province of Ontario.

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