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City to consider expanding smoking bans in public places

The patio at the Hideout on Queen, on Queen Street West area in Toronto.

Steve Payne/NYT

Toronto's Board of Health will decide next week whether to explore a further clamping down on smoking in public places, including patios and sports fields.

On Monday the board will consider whether the city's medical officer of health should consult with key stakeholders on extending smoking restrictions. If the board gives its assent, a decision on further limits would not come before next year.

"In 2009, the City surpassed the level of protection offered by the [Smoke-Free Ontario Act] by banning smoking near City playgrounds, wading pools, splash pads and in farms and zoos operated by Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division," the board of health notes in an agenda for next week's meeting. "Now, there is strong public interest and support for Toronto to join other Ontario municipalities in expanding [second-hand-smoke] protection to other outdoor spaces, including public building entranceways, bar and restaurant patios and hospital grounds."

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A report cited by the board notes that adult smoking rates have dropped since 2001, but that about one in five young adults are still smoking.

"Experts agree that tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable morbidity and mortality worldwide, including in Canada and that tobacco use and [second-hand-smoke] exposure remain important public health concerns," the report states.

In 2011 the board of health sought advice on ways to control tobacco use through expansions to existing smoke-free by-laws.

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About the Author

Oliver Moore joined the Globe and Mail's web newsroom in 2000 as an editor and then moved into reporting. A native Torontonian, he served four years as Atlantic Bureau Chief and has worked also in Afghanistan, Grenada, France, Spain and the United States. More

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