More people reported that they would likely visit bars and restaurants if they are smoke-free than the number who would stay away because of a smoking ban. These are the results of recent public opinion research announced today by Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh.
"The results of this survey are very encouraging," said Minister Dosanjh. "There is a momentum building in jurisdictions across Canada to create and maintain smoke-free spaces. I believe that our future is a tobacco-free future, and I am very pleased to see more provinces and municipalities choosing to protect their citizens by adopting smoke-free legislation."
The research was conducted to measure and evaluate the support for and potential impact of provincial smoking bans. Randomly-selected telephone surveys were conducted in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. It was found that the majority of those surveyed said they would find public places more appealing if they were smoke-free, and that they would increase their frequency of visiting such venues. These increases in attendance more than offset those respondents who suggested they would be less likely to visit smoke-free establishments. For the survey results, please see the fact sheets.
Similar studies have also been conducted in British Columbia and Newfoundland, the results of which will be released in the coming months.
Cigarette smoke is the number one cause of visible indoor air pollution. Second-hand smoke exposes employees and customers to cancer-causing pollutants. It can also interact with other occupational hazards, further increasing the danger to health. It was estimated in 1991 that smoking costs the Canadian health care system approximately $3.5 billion every year.
The health effects of smoking are devastating. Every year, more than 45,000 Canadians die from disease or illness caused by using tobacco and at least 1,000 are non-smokers. Health Canada, as part of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS), is committed to providing factual, evidence-based information to the Canadian public on the health hazards associated with tobacco use. The primary mission of the FTCS is to reduce disease and death among Canadians. It recognizes that the key to success is comprehensive, integrated and sustained action, carried out in collaboration with all partners and directed at Canadians of all ages. Federal, provincial and territorial Ministers of Health are committed to working together to reduce tobacco consumption in Canada.
Health Canada has resources available to help workplaces go smoke-free, including Smoke-free Public Places: You Can Get There and Towards a Healthier Workplace: A Guidebook on Tobacco Control Policies. Smoke-free Public Places offers hands-on, easy-to-use resources to help municipalities and communities through the various stages of planning, implementing and evaluating non-smoking by-laws and policies for public places in their communities. The Guidebook is designed to help employees and employers who are preparing to create or strengthen tobacco control policies in their workplaces.