Jerilynn Maki of the Canadian Cancer Society and Trish Hill – Senior Tobacco Reduction Coordinator with Interior Health, came before council on April 22 to present information on smoke free communities so that discussions to encourage the reduction of tobacco use could begin within the community.
Health issues, environmental and economical impacts of smoking were explained by Trish Hill.
“Research is showing that exposure to second hand smoke outdoors is dangerous, as it is indoors, she said. “Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death in Canada.”
The environment is impacted as carcinogenic toxins leach into the soil and water from cigarettes, an estimated 10 to 25 per cent of forest fires are caused by carelessly discarded butts and cigarette buts can out number other types of litter by three times.
Jerilynn Maki explained to council that, “smoking bans in public places help to reduce exposure to second hand smoke.”
Maki showed council a list of municipalities that were engaging in Outdoor Tobacco Bylaws and having success with them. The bylaw includes city properties such as trails, parks, plazas, etcetera. She stated that it would be a Gold Standard to ban smoking on patios at restaurants and pubs as well.
Maki then went on to explain how making a public health policy would help people to understand the bylaw better. “Typically, these bylaws start out more as public education,” she said. “Enforcement is not a real issue either as peer enforcement works, people generally want to do the right thing.”
Dr. Gerry Karr from the Okanagan Similkameen Healthy Living Coalition was next to present to council.
Dr. Karr said that the coalition is in full support of the prior presentation and hopes that council gives it very serious consideration. “It is an achievable, sustainable objective,” he said.
Dr. Karr welcomed Princeton to the coalition and explained that the vision of the coalition was to make the Okanagan-Similkameen the healthiest region in B.C. “We are here to do something about the health status of our region, we’re going to be successful,” he said, “we just have to do it differently.”
He introduced Tracey Michael – coordinator who is the contact for the coalition and told council that they are interested in any feedback on the development of a constellation group – (action group.) Council extended their appreciation for both presentations stating they would take them under advisement.