|City of Hamilton
Smoke-Free Vehicles – It’s the Law!
HAMILTON, ON – JANUARY 20, 2009 – Hamilton Public Health Services is urging drivers and passengers to keep their vehicle smoke-free when starting out on the road this winter. On January 21 a new Ontario law comes into effect that prohibits citizens from smoking in a motor vehicle if a child under the age of 16 is in the vehicle. The law will apply to both moving and stationary vehicles. Violations carry a fine up to $250 for offenders and will be enforced by police.
“This new law will protect children and youth, who are more vulnerable to the effects of second-hand smoke. Exposure to tobacco smoke puts youth at a greater risk of developing bronchitis, colds, ear infections and asthma,” says Dr. Elizabeth Richardson, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton. “Second-hand smoke particle concentrations in a vehicle can be up to 27 times greater than in a smoker’s home. We are asking parents, caregivers or any adults traveling with children to protect them by keeping vehicles smoke-free.”
The only way to protect children from the negative health effects of second-hand smoke is to make vehicles smoke-free - opening a window or smoking in the vehicle only when children are not present does not eliminate the risk. Suggestions to make a smoke-free ride easier include:
- Locking cigarettes in the trunk while driving
- Scheduling frequent stops on long trips. Time cigarette breaks with stops for meals and gas.
- Keeping an umbrella in the car for cigarette breaks in rainy weather.
- Replacing smoking with alternatives such as drinking water, chewing gum and singing to the radio.
For more information about protecting children and others from second-hand smoke, contact the Public Health Tobacco Hotline at (905) 540-5566 or visit www.smokefreeride.ca.
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For further information, please contact:
Dr. Jessica Hopkins
Public Health Resident
905-546-2424 ext. 7158