During several months Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health office conducted surveys in order to find out what their residents think about smoking bans at outdoor spaces in Guelph (Canada).
The survey started on May 31 and finished on August 20. Totally there were asked 2,001 people across the region, 908 were from Guelph. Soon the results of the survey will be put into a board of health report and will be brought before Guelph city council.
Jennifer McCorriston, program manager of chronic disease and injury prevention at the public health unit said that it is good that public interest is taken into consideration. The survey asked people if they would support an anti-smoking law which prohibits smoking in outdoor places. There were provided several options of smoke-free places to choose: beaches, playgrounds, parks.
McCorriston said that it was important to give people a choice and according to their answers to make right decisions on smoke-free places. People could answer on the questions online or by phone. Also volunteers offered the survey to citizens on different public events such as Guelph Food Festival.
In 2012 in Town of Orangeville there was put into action a bylaw which prohibits smoking cigarettes in any municipal building, public place, lane, parking lot, recreational sports field, public transit vehicle within the city whether or not a No Smoking sign is posted. McCorriston said the bylaw in Town of Orangeville proved to be very successful and now thay want to do the same thing in other municipalities in the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph region. Laura Campbell, health promotion specialist with the public health unit, said that Orangeville bylaw was phased in over time which helped people to learn to adapt to it.
“If you have the support, and you have the education, it’s less focused on punishing people. It’s more about making it very inclusive.”
Todd Dennis, Guelph councillor, said that prohibiting smoking in public places is an important step in fighting smoking-related diseases. Modern people lead a healthy lifestyle because they want to be healthy and they want their children to be healthy. Thus outdoor activities can be spoiled by others smoking around you.