"Ventilation Solution" in Ontario
In this section, we provide information on municipalities in Ontario
that have been lobbied by hospitality organizations working together
with the tobacco industry to prevent smoking bans by securing ventilation
technology as a compliance option in smoke-free legislation. The
working relationship between the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel
Association (ORHMA) and Canadian
tobacco companies is laid out in Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers
Council (CTMC) memos, in which the ORHMA is depicted as an ally
of the industry and supportive of the tobacco industry's "ventilation
We highlight the experiences of City of Toronto
and York Region.
THE 'VENTILATION SOLUTION" IN THE CITY OF TORONTO
During the City of Toronto's smoke-free bylaw campaign in 1999,
the Ontario Restaurant Association (ORA - today called the ORHMA),
was the bylaw's most visible and vocal opponent. Throughout the
bylaw debate, the ORA aggressively lobbied City Council for a "ventilation
solution" in hospitality establishments. They advocated a heat-recovery
ventilation system and directional airflow as an alternative to
a 100% smoking ban or designated smoking rooms. The City of Toronto
ultimately rejected the proposed ventilation technology, and instead
allowed for designated
smoking rooms (DSRs) in bars and restaurants as the alternative
to a 100% ban. On June 1, 2001, Toronto restaurants and bowling
alleys were required to either build DSRs or become 100% smoke-free.
On June 1, 2004, the same requirement will apply to bars, pubs and
The connections between the ORA (today the ORHMA) and the Canadian
tobacco industry became clear as the bylaw campaign progressed.
In May 1999, the ORA held a press conference, during which John
Luik spoke on behalf of the organization in response to the Medical
Officer of Health's report on the proposed smoking bylaw, entitled,
A Harmonized Environmental Tobacco Smoke By-Law for the City of
Toronto: Policy Options and Recommendations. John Luik is a well-known
tobacco industry consultant, who has also made false statements
about his academic credentials (CBC T.V. News and Current Affairs,
June 21, 2001; CBC Television). Please click
here to read more about John Luik and his ties to the tobacco
Tobacco industry arguments
The May 1999 press conference highlighted arguments frequently cited
by the tobacco industry and allied hospitality organizations. Below
are those three major arguments, with reasons why they should be
1) Denial of scientific evidence
Argument: The scientific evidence, taken as a whole, does
not support the claim that second-hand smoke causes disease, including
heart disease and lung cancer.
Response: There is overwhelming medical and scientific evidence
that second-hand smoke is a major cause of disease, including lung
cancer, heart disease, asthma, sudden infant death syndrome, middle
ear disease, nasal sinus cancer, and is likely a cause of stroke,
cervical cancer, breast cancer and cognitive illnesses in children.
Please refer to Health Effects
of second-hand smoke to learn more.
2) The "Osteen Decision"
Argument: A United States District Court struck down the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's 1993 report findings that
second-hand smoke causes lung cancer and is a "Group A"
(or known human) carcinogen. This proves that the "jury is
out" as to the exact health effects of second-hand smoke.
Response: In a December 2002 ruling, the United States 4th
Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Osteen's decision and
unanimously upheld the EPA report. The Court ruled that the EPA
report was not subject to court review because it was advisory and
not a final agency action. The ruling affirms the EPA's authority
to make scientific judgments and issue them without interference.
Please click here
to read more about the "Osteen Decision".
3) The 1998 IARC study
Argument: A 1998 International Agency for Research on Cancer (a
branch of the World Health Organization) study
proved that second-hand smoke does not cause cancer.
Response: This argument continues to be widely circulated and is
part of a tobacco industry misinformation campaign that was launched
after the publication of a 10-year, European study that did prove
that second-hand smoke causes lung cancer. Please click
here to read more about the tobacco industry's campaign to discredit
the IARC study.
Internal documents reveal tobacco industry-hospitality industry
The exact nature of the relationship between the ORA (and later
the ORHMA) and Canadian tobacco companies in their joint effort
to push for a "ventilation solution" as a compliance option
in Toronto's smoke-free bylaw has been revealed through tobacco
industry internal memos, made available after the 1998 Master Settlement
Agreement in the United States. Two depositories were created, one
in Minnesota and the other in Guildford, England, and together they
contain tens of millions of tobacco industry documents.
15, 1998 CTMC memo revealed that the President & CEO of
the ORA was working with the CTMC to secure funding for ventilation
projects during Toronto's smoke-free bylaw campaign. Terry Mundell,
the President & CEO of the ORA/ORHMA, is named:
Mundell has quietly indicated the Ontario Restaurant Association's
(ORA) plan to consult a polling firm with respect to the planned
"consultation" polling by the Toronto Board of Health.
At the very least, the ORA intends to get an opinion on the board
of health's questions and to call into question their methodology
publicly. They are also considering the suggestion to undertake
their own poll to counter that of the board of health. A request
of funding by the HAC [Hotel Association of Canada] will probably
for assistance in proving that a carbon dioxide detector could
be a proper measure for ETS as an "anchor" for the ORA
position on ventilation. Mundell wants to ensure that the "technical
aspects are right." Regrettably, our research on this subject
has indicated that no such proof exists as CO2 is an indicator
of overall air quality and not specifically ETS."
The memo also shows that at the time of the Toronto smoke-free
bylaw campaign, the ORA planned to call Toronto Board of Health
methodology into question before having actually assessed it. Finally,
it demonstrates that funding for ventilation projects has been provided
through the CTMC via the Hotel Association of Canada (please click
here for a further discussion on the Association's Courtesy
of Choice program).
The Black Dog Pub ventilation pilot project
Funding from the Hotel Association of Canada, as outlined in the
15, 1998 CTMC memo, went towards the Black Dog Pub ventilation
pilot project, carried out in Scarborough, Ontario.
The Black Dog Pub ventilation pilot project was conducted on behalf
of the ORA (today the ORHMA). The ORA alleged that the project proved
that the ventilation technology tested created the equivalent of
air in a regulated non-smoking area in the City of Toronto and should
be introduced as a compliance option in Toronto's smoke-free bylaw.
The technology tested was a heat-recovery ventilation system that
utilized directional airflow. In essence, this is a ventilation
system in which air is introduced into a non-smoking room and exhausted
out of a room in which smoking is allowed, the purpose being to
prevent those in the non-smoking room from being exposed to smoke
from the smoking area.
The results of this project were first made public a few days before
Toronto City Council was scheduled to vote on the 1999 smoking bylaw,
in an attempt to convince Councillors not to require designated
smoking rooms, but rather to permit unenclosed ventilation as a
compliance option. The results were presented at a news conference
chaired by Terry Mundell (Mr. Mundell continues to be the ORHMA
President & CEO).
The results had no effect of Council's decision and the bylaw passed.
Dr. Sheela Basrur, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, also reviewed
the ventilation technology tested in the Black Dog Pub pilot project
and concluded that ventilation should not be approved as an alternative
in Toronto's smoking bylaw. Click
here to view her critique, presented in a June 28, 1999 memorandum.
Furthermore, Health Canada was asked to test the Black Dog ventilation
technology in order to confirm whether or not it should be used
as a compliance option. Former Health Canada Assistant Deputy Minister
Ian Potter outlined reasons for refusing to test the technology
in a March 17, 2000 memo. The memo states in part that:
problem with ventilation as an exposure reduction strategy is
that exposure, even if the system is operating at maximum efficiency,
is never zero. In other words, in the best-case scenario, there
is an explicit acceptance of some level of exposure to non-smokers.
In the worst-case scenario, where the ventilation system is never
maintained and becomes inoperative, exposure of non-smokers to
tobacco smoke is maximized
ventilation system will protect everybody, and might even delude
non-smokers into a false sense of protection, it is concluded
that such systems are not as good as a total ban."
The next stage of the Black Dog Pub ventilation pilot project took
place a few days before the June 1, 2001 compliance date for restaurants
under the Toronto bylaw. The now-Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel
Association (ORHMA) held another news conference during which it
released an article summarizing the Black Dog Pub study, claiming
that since the results of the ventilation project had now been published
in a peer-reviewed journal, this constituted the equivalent of a
court decision about the validity of unenclosed ventilation. Once
again, Toronto Council paid no attention to the publication of this
The ventilation pilot project was published in the December 2001
issue of Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (Environmental
Tobacco Smoke in the Non-smoking Section of a Restaurant: A Case
Study. Jenkins, RA, Finn Derrick, et al. Regulatory Toxicology
and Pharmacology, 2001 Dec; 4(3): 213-20). The Hotel Association
of Canada was identified as the project funding source on page 219.
Subsequent reviews of the published study agreed that there were
flaws in methodology, misrepresentation of findings, and that many
aspects of the findings had no relevance to the conclusions. Contact
OCAT for more information on the technical peer reviews referred
The published study was linked to the tobacco industry in several
for the study was provided by the Hotel Association of Canada,
which in turn collected funds for this project from the CTMC.
Jenkins, the study's lead author, is a long-time U.S. tobacco
industry consultant. He is a chemist with the Oak Ridge National
Laboratory, and specializes in producing studies on indoor air
pollution that find low levels of exposure to second-hand smoke.
We encourage you to read more about Roger Jenkins and his affiliation
to the tobacco industry.
- The second
author of the study, Derrick Finn, has a history of working with
the CTMC. He is identified in a March 30, 1998 CTMC
memo as "our technical advisor".
Toxicology and Pharmacology is funded in part by the American
tobacco company RJ Reynolds. An associate editor of the journal
is Gio Gori, a long-time and well-known U.S. tobacco industry
consultant who has worked for many years to discredit the scientific
case in support of regulation of second-hand smoke exposure. He
also co-authored a book with John Luik, Passive Smoke: The
EPA's Betrayal of Science and Policy, commissioned and published
by the Fraser Institute.
In April 2002, Terry Mundell approached Toronto City Council's
Economic Development Committee to ask for renewed consideration
of ventilation technology as a compliance option in the City's smoke-free
bylaw. His request was rejected.
Most recently, John
Luik wrote an article criticizing Toronto's Medical Officer
of Health for ignoring the Black Dog Pub project findings (National
Post, April 12, 2003. Financial Post, page 11).
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THE "VENTILATION SOLUTION" IN THE REGION OF YORK
Despite the passage and subsequent implement of York Region's smoke-free
bylaw (with provisions virtually identical to Toronto's), the ORHMA
and the Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association (CRFA)
continued to lobby Regional Council to amend the bylaw to allow
for unenclosed ventilation technology as a compliance option.
In June 2002, Terry Mundell and Douglas Needham, President of the
CRFA, made a joint request to York Region's Health and Emergency
Medical Services Committee to conduct an unenclosed ventilation
pilot project. The Committee passed a resolution, subsequently endorsed
by York Regional Council, that consideration be given to participation
and that Regional staff prepare a report describing the conditions
under which participation might occur.
On September 5th, 2002, the Committee received the staff report,
which recommended that the Region not participate in the project.
The Committee approved the staff recommendation by a unanimous vote.
Councillors who spoke in support of rejection, including Regional
Chair Bill Fisch, made it clear that they were not only rejecting
the proposal before them, but that they did not wish any further
representations made to them about ventilation demonstration projects.
Vaughan Regional Councillor, Joyce Frustralgio, chair of the Health
and Emergency Medical Services Committee, summed up York Region's
position on ventilation in a June 9, 2002 Toronto Star article (page
took the time, the interest and spent a considerable amount of
taxpayers' dollars to assess
the ventilation system that
they (restaurant groups) purported to be an excellent one - and
it was not. So we in turn have sent back a very clear message:
Don't come and waste our time and waste our dime.'"
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