Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Smoking Ban in High-Rise Apartments?

Smoking Ban in Apartments???

Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman floating the Idea of opening a Debate of whether smoking should be banned in "some" high rise apartments or Not. Growing pressure to curb the deadly effect of second hand smoke and the fact that many public places already declared smoke free and all work places are now have a designated smoking areas or some are no smoking at all.

While Smitherman said he would rather see market forces drive landlords to declare their buildings smoke-free, he acknowledged it would be worth having the discussion about whether legislation would be necessary to back up any ban.

"We’ve got to look at it from a regulatory standpoint," he said. "We sure will do that. There will be a good discussion. But there is a lot of power in the hands of the people."

Now here are what all the other parties have to say about the Health Minister's Idea of a Debate on this Issue:

Premier Dalton Mcquinty (Il Supremo) said:
Who previously ruled out banning smoking in cars where present of children saying it is a slippery slope, doesn’t like the Idea of his Health Minister "That’s not something we’re considering, no," he said when asked whether anti-smoking laws should be extended to apartment buildings.

Irene Gallagher of the Ontario Free Tobacco-Network said:
that "two polls conducted last year for the network suggest that people want the choice of living in a smoke-free building."

Some 64 per cent of respondents to the poll said they would prefer a smoke-free building over one where smoking was permitted, while 46 per cent of apartment dwellers said smoke from their neighbours had seeped into their units.

"If they want to open up this debate in the legislature, that’s good," Gallagher said:
"It would get people talking. We need the industry to respond to market demand by offering some choice".

Vince Brescia, president and CEO of the Federation of Rental-housing Providers of Ontario said:

"Landlords can’t evict a tenant who has a pet, let alone enforce a smoking ban", Brescia said.
"We agree with the concept of choice . . . but we’re prevented from providing that choice by Ontario law".

Hilary Short, president and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association said:

" if the province can do something to mitigate the harmful impact of second-hand smoke, it should act. I think it’s very well worth a debate," she said. "Any reduction in people’s exposure to second-hand smoke would be very positive. I think it’s a great idea."

And from the Two Opposition Parties:

New Democrat Shelley Martel said:

" the province can’t duck this issue for long."
"The yardsticks have moved a long way," said Martel, noting many critics didn’t think it would be possible to impose a ban on smoking in workplaces — something that’s now commonplace.

Tory (Conservative) Leader John Tory said: (notice the leader's name and the party are the same)

" it’s not worth talking about regulating what people do in the privacy of their own apartments. The province would be better off improving the building code to stop smoke from drifting from unit to unit than legislating their behaviour, he said.
"People have a refuge, which is their home," he said:
"Where does it stop? What do you start telling people what they can and can’t do in their homes?

There you have folks. The Minister of Health floating the idea to start the debate. The important personalities already said their pieces and now it’s the turn of the others that matter most, the tenants of high rise apartments, the landlords of high-rises and the taxpayers and voters of this province. Let the debate starts....