January 23, 2018
January 21-27 is National Non-Smoking Week in Canada. Established in 1977 by the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, it is one of the longest running and most important events in Canada's ongoing public health education efforts.
The aims of this awareness week are to educate Canadians about the dangers of smoking, prevent people from starting to smoke, and to help people quit. LHSC helps to support these aims by:
- Promoting the numerous health benefits of quitting smoking
- Offering staff a number of in-house smoking cessation resources
- Linking staff, patients and visitors to a number of community-based resources
- Adhering to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which came into full effect on Jan. 1
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act makes it illegal to smoke in a number of defined outdoor and public spaces, including all hospitals. LHSC first implemented a smoke-free policy two years ago, in advance of this coming legislation.
In Ontario, smoking is now prohibited throughout all hospital property including all outdoor space such as entrances and exits, in parking garages, parking lots, roadways, bus shelters and green space.
The final implementation of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act means that charged offences and fines will replace reminders and warnings. The typical fine for a first time offence is $305, though the law does allow for a maximum fine of $1,000. For repeat offenders, fines can increase up to a maximum of $5,000.
Enforcement of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act is completed by Tobacco Enforcement Officers of the local public health units. These officers will be conducting random inspections to ensure compliance with the law, respond to complaints about offences, and lay charges when necessary.