Dec. 30, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Motorists are being reminded that a provincial ban on smoking in motor vehicles when children are present comes into effect Jan. 1, 2010.
"The prohibition of smoking in cars when children are present will ensure more protection for young people from the health risks associated with second-hand smoke," said Health Minister Mary Schryer. "This initiative is a step forward to protect the public from second-hand smoke and to reduce the use of tobacco products."
The Smoke-free Places Act prohibits smoking in a motor vehicle when a person younger than 16 is present. Similar legislation exists in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and the Yukon, and is being put in force in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
Research has shown that the effects of second-hand smoke are experienced more intensely by children than adults because of their higher respiratory rates. In sealed, enclosed spaces such as cars, second-hand smoke may reach levels 23 times higher than in a house.
"This legislation will go a long way in protecting New Brunswick children from the dangers of second-hand smoke," said Anne McTiernan-Gamble, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society - New Brunswick. "Reducing exposure to tobacco is critical to ensuring the best possible health outcomes for our children now and in the future."
Provincial drivers are reminded that failure to comply with the legislation is a punishable offence, and offending drivers may face fines of $140-$570.
Other initiatives aimed at decreasing and recouping costs associated with tobacco use in New Brunswick have included a ban on tobacco displays and point-of-sale tobacco advertising as well as the launch of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
"This ban is also another step in the de-normalization of tobacco products, which will reduce how often children see tobacco being used," said Schryer. "It is another effort in not only reducing children's exposure to second-hand smoke but also in trying to prevent children from beginning to use tobacco products. It will also encourage New Brunswickers to lead a healthier lifestyle that does not include tobacco."
New Brunswickers are reminded that a variety of tools are available to help persons wishing to stop smoking. Those looking for assistance to quit smoking are encouraged to contact the Canadian Cancer Society Smokers' Helpline, a partnership between the Canadian Cancer Society and the Province of New Brunswick, at 1-877-513-5333, or by visiting Smokers' Helpline online at www.smokershelpline.ca.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Hillary Casey, communications, Department of Health, 506-453-3522; Ellen Snider, Canadian Cancer Society, 506-634-6271.