Alberta communities can help keep kids tobacco-free

Last month, Edmonton city council approved a bylaw to ban smoking at playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor facilities frequented by children.

Last month, Edmonton city council approved a bylaw to ban smoking at playgrounds, sports fields and outdoor facilities frequented by children. While dozens of communities across Canada have passed similar bylaws, the Edmonton bylaw is the strongest in the province and we hope that other Alberta communities will follow suit.

The main objective of the new Edmonton bylaw is to promote healthy smoke-free behaviour to children and adolescents and to help youth remain tobacco-free for life. Young people are very impressionable and they take their cues from adults and other role models. As a society, we need to send a strong message that smoking in public is not acceptable and we need to promote non-smoking as the norm if we want to drive down youth smoking.

Public smoking restrictions are a proven strategy to help discourage tobacco use and to reduce smoking onset by adolescents. The recent U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on Reducing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults concludes that smoke-free laws contribute to reduced tobacco use among youth.

Alberta’s youth smoking rate remains unacceptably high and we are not meeting our provincial youth smoking target. In 2010, 13 per cent of Alberta youth aged 12 to 19 were current smokers, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey. The provincial target set by Alberta Health and Wellness was 10 per cent. Obviously, more needs to be done to drive down smoking rates among impressionable adolescents.

Recently, the Alberta legislative assembly passed a bill to ban smoking in motor vehicles containing children under the age of 18. Municipalities can go one step further by providing youth with smoke-free outdoor spaces to complement the new provincial law.

Public support for smoke-free outdoor spaces is very high. A 2010 telephone survey of 1,203 Albertans conducted by the University of Alberta Population Research Lab found that 69 per cent of respondents supported smoking bans at all outdoor public spaces.

Tobacco is the leading avoidable cause of disease, disability and premature death in Alberta, resulting in 3,000 deaths annually.

Tobacco has no safe level of consumption, it is highly addictive, and it is the only legal product that kills one-half of its long-term users when used as directed by its manufacturers. About 50,000 Alberta youth between the ages of 12 and 19 are smokers, according to the Canadian Community Health Survey.

The bottom line is that Alberta children deserve first-class protection from tobacco use and outdoor smoking restrictions will help to achieve this objective.

ASH is Western Canada’s leading tobacco control organization.

Gail Foreman

Central Alberta contact

Action on Smoking and Health

Red Deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read