(Brampton) - With New Year's resolutions ahead, 'tis the season to ensure one of those promises includes protecting others from exposure to second-hand smoke.
Breathing Space, a community partnership for smoke-free homes and cars, is launching a province-wide radio advertisement campaign this week reminding people to smoke outdoors. This year's campaign is sponsored by all Ontario local public health departments and the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion, in support of a Smoke Free Ontario.
"Second-hand smoke is harmful to everyone, including smokers," says Dr. Hanif Kassam, the Region of Peel's Medical Officer of Health. "It's our hope that, as people learn more about the effects of second-hand smoke, it becomes a matter of course that they smoke outside and ask others to smoke outside."
Exposure to second-hand smoke is a widespread problem in Ontario. An Ontario Tobacco Research Unit study released in October 2005 indicates that 21 per cent of Ontarians reported smoking occurred inside the home on a daily basis. Half of all households with young children and smokers reported that smoking took place in the home.
"Infants who breathe in second-hand smoke have a greater chance of dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and children who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to get bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, colds and asthma," says Dr. Kassam.
Health Canada reports more than 1,000 non-smokers will die this year due to second-hand smoke - estimating over 300 lung cancer deaths and at least 700 deaths from coronary heart disease. "Protecting our loved ones, especially children – is easy," adds Dr. Kassam. "Take it outside – don’t smoke in your home or car."
Suggestions to keep homes and cars smoke-free include: removing any ashtrays; practicing the out-of-sight, out-of-mind theory; encouraging and helping your loved ones who are smokers to quit; creating a comfortable smoking area outside the home where people can smoke without harming others.
Advertisements for this year's Breathing Space campaign will run for two weeks beginning Dec. 26, 2005 and will be heard throughout the province of Ontario.
For more information about second-hand smoke, call Peel Public Health at the Region of Peel at 905-799-7700 or visit the Region of Peel's Web site at peelregion.ca