Yesterday was a good day for Anne-Josée Marion.
The mother of three-year-old Luca was happy to see the provincial law, which prohibits smoking in vehicles carrying children under age 16, come into effect.
“Since my son was born, I’ve made sure he was in a smoke-free environment,” she said. “For me, this legislation is peace of mind that he won’t be exposed to smoke.”
Ottawa Public Health officials gathered at the Andrew Fleck Child Care Centre yesterday to locally announce the provincial law that makes smoking in vehicles carrying children under 16 illegal.
Children who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer lung damage and respiratory ailments, including asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia, and later in life, cancer and cardiac disease, said Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Isra Levy.
Studies show that the concentration of second-hand smoke is between 25 and 30 times greater in a car than in a smoker’s home, he added.
Every year in Ottawa, there are 1,000 deaths that are attributed to smoking cigarettes.
“That’s nearly three a day,” Levy said.
“There’s no safe level of second-hand smoke,” said Ottawa Coun. Marianne Wilkinson. “It not only affects our children’s health, but their ability to learn.”
“Children do not have control over their environments like adults do,” said Coun. Diane Deans, “and often cannot speak up or leave a situation that endangers them.”
And there’s help for those who are struggling with the new law, said Levy.
“If you are one of the parents who is struggling, there are a lot of resources out there to help you,” he said.