Time to act

Council may only have two speakers coming forward so far to speak on the smoking bylaw issue at a special meeting next Tuesday night, but the more than 700 cards—each representing a household—delivered by the Northwestern Health Unit to council speaks that second-hand smoke is a major concern in Fort Frances.
Fort Frances council, recognizing the danger of smoke in the workplace, already has banned smoking in their own buildings and workplaces. That action is no different than regulations imposed by federal and provincial governments to ban smoking in government workplaces.
In Newfoundland, smoking is banned in all workplaces.
In a recent case in New York state, a judge ruled a mother can’t smoke in her home or car because of the health risk to her 13-year-old son.
Across Northwestern Ontario, the health unit has lobbied to have municipalities ban smoking in public places. Health Canada also has stepped up its country-wide advertising campaign to make people aware of the dangers of second-hand smoke.
Council can provide leadership by making our community safer. In a study by Rob Cunningham for the International Research Centre in Ottawa, it was determined the risk of developing cancer due to exposure to second-hand smoke is about 57 times greater than the total risk posed by all outdoor air contaminants.
An employer or business would never consider risking the lives of customers or employees to cancer-causing agents.
Two-thirds of the smoke from a burning cigarette is distributed into the air around where it burns. And that smoke then is distributed evenly across the rooms and building through ventilation systems—to be inhaled by anyone working or visiting the building.
Air exchange systems normally exchange the air once per hour. At that rate, it would take three hours to remove 95 percent of the smoke from a single cigarette. To be effective, the air exchange would have to increase by a factor of 1,000. That would create major winds in buildings.
The only solution is to force smokers out of public access buildings. Council can take the bold step to eliminate second-hand smoke in those places—and increase the health safety for its citizens.
They know the facts. It is time to act.