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September 14, 2009
For immediate release
New Smoking Laws Will Protect Islanders’ Health
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“We know that there is no safe level of exposure to second hand smoke. The changes to the Smoke-free Places Act are a significant step forward in our efforts to protect Islanders from the harmful effects of second hand smoke,” the Minister said.
The amendments to the Smoke-free Places Act will become law at midnight, September 15, 2009.
The main purpose of the Smoke-free Places Act is to protect Islanders from the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke, while reducing the overall consumption of tobacco products by those who do smoke.
In 2004, the Government of Prince Edward Island brought the Smoke-free Places Act into effect and led the country in restricting smoking in public places and work places.
“We recognized a need to update the Act to bring us back in-line with changes in other provinces,” Minister Currie said. “These changes will do just that.”
The changes will further restrict smoking in public places and work places, and include:
• Eliminating designated smoking rooms in public places and work places, except in nursing homes and community care facilities;
• Eliminating designated smoking areas and prohibit smoking on hospital grounds, with the exception of Hillsborough Hospital;
• Prohibiting smoking in vehicles with persons under the age of 19 present;
• Permitting smoking on patios/decks of eating establishments and licensed premises only between 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
The amendments were proposed last year and were sent to a Standing Committee on Social Development to hold public consultations on the proposed changes before being tabled in the Spring session of the Legislature earlier this year. Signs and posters explaining the new rules have been developed and are available to businesses and organizations through the Department of Health’s website.
“Government has worked with the PEI Lung Association, the PEI Division of the Canadian Cancer Society and the Smokers’ Helpline in our public campaign to ensure Islanders are aware of the changes. We also want to make sure that Islanders are offered access to smoking cessation information and assistance if they wish to quit,” said Minister Currie.