In the UK a Private Member’s Bill has been put foward calling for a ban on smoking discount Bond cigarettes in all vehicles at all times, even if the driver is alone. Taryn Sendzik is a Grad Student at the University of Waterloo and has done some research on the dangers of smoking in vehicles.
She tells 570 News the dangers to smoking vehicles are often the same as you would see in other places, like in the home or workplace. Individuals exposed to tobacco smoke are at the risk of developing the same health conditions like cancer, asthma or bronchitis. The difference with cars is that the smoke is confined to a small space, and as a result people are exposed to very heavily concentrated smoke.
It’s not only first and second-hand smoke people have to worry about, either. Sendzik says a relatively new discovery is the health hazards of third-hand smoke. Third-hand smoke is the residue that is left behind after an individual is finished smoking a cigarette. It’s the tar and nicotene that rests on the surfaces, and the particles that gets into fabrics.
According to Sendzik the concept of banning smoking from private vehicles is not an entirely new idea. It’s been implemented in a number of jurisdictions in Canada including here in Ontario, although the laws here in Ontario primarily refer to smoking in vehicles that are used for work or where children under the age of 16. Similar laws show up in South Africa, Bahrain, parts of Australia and the U.S. In the country of Mauritius, there is a complete ban on smoking in vehicles with passengers at all times regardless of whether or not the passengers are children. Sendzik says it seems to be working well for that country. She tells 570 News the law was instituted in 2008 and even the majority of smokers support the ban. Of Mauritians that own a car, 78 per cent of smokers and, 95 per cent of non-smokers don’t allow smoking in their vehicles.
Sendzik says many individuals already ban smoking in their private vehicles, so it is something that could potentially work here as well. “As long as there’s strong public and political support to move forward with it,” says Taryn.
Locally, The Region of Waterloo Smoking By-Law came into effect on January 1, 2000 prohibiting smoking in restaurants and bars. According to The Region’s website, Smoking in public places has been regulated under the authority of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act since its enactment on May 31, 2006, except where the Region’s Smoking By-Law is more restrictive of smoking than the Act.