City must stand firm on smoke-free bylaw
The Sudbury Star
Mon 05 May 2003


Sudbury residents are not likely to be fooled by the latest round of frivolous arguments from opponents of the City of Greater Sudbury's excellent smoke-free bylaw (Group Fights for 'Sensible' Smoking Bylaw for City-- April 22).

Sudbury's current bylaw is the result of several years of council meetings and public consultations, deliberations by a smoke-free bylaw committee which included representation from the business community, and extensive media coverage by print and electronic outlets in the city and throughout the district.

For any business owner to state that he/she was not consulted can only mean that they were either out of the area during this period, or that they are totally unaware of one of the city's most high-profile debates in recent years.

In the many municipalities in which my organization has worked on smoke-free bylaws, this complaint of lack of consultation from a small minority of the hospitality industry is a frequent tactic used to either block smoke-free bylaws entirely, or to intimidate councils into changing decisions to pass such bylaws.

Sudbury council demonstrated both courage and patience in spending as long as it did to develop the city's bylaw, which will give full and equal protection to all Sudbury workers from a known cause of lung cancer, heart disease and a variety of respiratory ailments.

When Sudbury's bylaw comes into force, it will be in very good company indeed: Municipalities which will also see 100-per-cent smoke-free bylaws come into force in May-June include Belleville, Kingston, Thessalon, Chatham-Kent and Cornwall. Many others will come into force either later this year -- like North Bay and West Nipissing -- or in 2004.

Many municipal councils in all parts of Ontario have adopted a sensible and prudent approach to protecting the health of both workers and residents alike. I am sure that Greater Sudbury council, having already taken a strong stand for public health, will not be intimidated by a few hospitality owners who appear to have little or no regard for the health of either their workers or their patrons.

Michael Perley

- Michael Perley is the director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco.

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