It’s the summertime, and you’re enjoying a relaxing dinner with your family or drinks with friends on a patio.

 

Even if you’re not a smoker, you could breathing in air of the same quality as air sampled during the Kelowna fires or the worst smog day in Los Angeles’ history.

 

Earlier this week, University of Waterloo researcher Ryan Kennedy measured air quality at 12 restaurants, bars, pubs and coffee shops in the ByWard Market, on Bank Street, Elgin Street, Sparks Street, and in Hintonburg.

 

“What we found from our study was not surprising,” Kennedy said Wednesday. “If you’re on a patio and someone is near you and they’re smoking, the air you’re breathing… is compromised by smoke.


“I think people understand secondhand smoke is dangerous, but that when they’re outdoors, it just dissipates,” he said.


Secondhand smoke outside is just as bad as breathing it in indoors, he added.


Campaign coming


The Ottawa Council on Smoking and Health is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of smoke and to get Ottawa residents’ opinions on smoke-free patios.

The smoking rate in Ottawa is low compared to the national average, said Pippa Beck, past president of the Ottawa Council on Smoking and Health. More than 80 per cent of Ottawans are non-smokers, and even more enjoy smoke-free environments, she said.