Windsor Star

Smokers should butt out at playing fields, survey finds

71% back idea

- DYLAN KRISTY

A recent proposal to ban smoking at municipall­y owned recreation facilities has garnered overwhelmi­ng support from area residents, according to a survey by the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

The survey found that 71 per cent of the people questioned support a ban of smoking at outdoor facilities.

“The idea of a healthy lifestyle as promoted by sports and recreation really isn’t compatible with cigarette smoking,” said Medical Officer of Health Dr. Allen Heimann.

THE SURVEY SHOWED 63 TO 83 PER CENT OF LOCAL SMOKERS WERE INTERESTED IN QUITTING WITHIN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS.

The health unit presented a resolution to its board of directors Thursday to “encourage Windsor and Essex County to develop and adopt a bylaw banning smoking in all city or county owned outdoor sport and recreation areas.”

Sports spectator Wilf Renaud said the smoking ban at all municipall­y owned outdoor recreation facilities would be going too far.

During halftime at Alumni Field Friday, where F.J. Brennan high school’s football team was facing off against Sandwich secondary school, Renaud was asked to step outside of the facility to finish his cigar.

“I don’t mind having to leave the area to smoke but I think a bylaw banning smoking at all outdoor games would be going too far,” the 55-year-old said.

“I would never sit next to someone and smoke a cigar because I have the common decency not to and I think most people do as well.”

The survey was conducted through funding from a Health Ministry pro- motion to get youth engaged in tobacco control.

Of the 1,100 surveys received by the health unit, Heimann said 47.9 per cent were completed by teenagers between the ages of 15 to 19, making it the highest percentage of participan­ts.

He said the survey also showed that 63 to 83 per cent of Windsor-area smokers expressed interest in quitting within the next six months.

Part of this funding has been allocated to municipali­ties throughout the county to promote tobacco awareness.

Trese MacNeil, co-ordinator of community sports service for the City of Windsor, said the funding will be used to create presentati­ons to local sports organizati­ons to get their support for a ban.

“The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee decided they would create another survey and have it sent to all of the schools in Windsor and Essex County so they can collect that informatio­n and present it to local sports groups,” MacNeil said, adding that Lakeshore, LaSalle and Windsor were the only municipali­ties to take advantage of the funding.

MacNeil said the surveys were distribute­d Friday and students will begin filling them out next week, which happens to be Tobacco Awareness Week.

But before the board approves the resolution, Heimann said they would like to see how the ban has worked in other cities like Barrie, Toronto, Waterloo and Woodstock.

If the board approves the resolution at its next meeting on Dec. 16, Heimann said the informatio­n gathered would then be presented to the respective councils.

 ?? DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star ?? Bob St. Jean smokes a cigarette outside of the University of Windsor Alumni Stadium during halftime of the Brennan-Sandwich high school football game Friday. According to a recent survey, 71 per cent would support a
smoking ban at outdoor playing...
DAN JANISSE/The Windsor Star Bob St. Jean smokes a cigarette outside of the University of Windsor Alumni Stadium during halftime of the Brennan-Sandwich high school football game Friday. According to a recent survey, 71 per cent would support a smoking ban at outdoor playing...

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