Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Toronto Parks committee wants smoking ban on beaches, sports fields

TORONTO - Smoking outside is about to get a lot harder in Toronto.

The parks committee voted Wednesday to order smokers to butt out on the city’s beaches and sports fields.

After a brief debate, the committee voted unanimously to ask city council to prohibit people from lighting up on — or within nine metres of — sports fields and at the city’s 11 beaches, outdoor swimming pools, ski hills, BMX parks and some other locations.

City council will vote on expanding smoke-free areas in parks next month along with a Board of Health recommendation to ban smoking within nine metres of public buildings.

Parks committee chairman Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti supported expanding the ban.

“I don’t want my child to be subject to someone’s second-hand smoke,” he told the committee. “I don’t want to kiss an ashtray nor do I want to play with one.”

Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon called it “a no-brainer health-wise.”

Dr. David McKeown, the city’s chief medical officer of health, made the recommendations to beef up the city’s outdoor smoking ban.

Last month, Mayor Rob Ford balked at the idea of strengthening the city’s smoking ban.

“I hate the smell ... I’m not a smoker, I don’t like it,” Ford said following the board of health’s call to tighten anti-smoking laws. “But, I just don’t like government getting involved, telling people where they can smoke, where they can’t. How far are they going to push us?

“Are they going to make the city eventually one day smoke-free, like you can’t smoke anywhere?”
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