20101001

Smoking Laws in Ontario, Quebec

On a different note, I thought that I would talke about an idea I had for an amendment to the existing Ontario bylaws that prohibit smoking in public buildings, places or private automobiles with a child present. It is illegal in most municipalities in Ontario. It's getting better in Quebec, but Ontario is a bit further ahead. The biggest problem, in my opinion, is smoking in the home around children. Certainly, there have already been numerous studies that indicate without a doubt that smoking in the home around children is harmful, but why isn't it illegal? I suppose that one could argue that it interferes with a persons rights... to smoke... and ... err... slowly poison their children (!?). Ridiculous, right? In some cases such as mine, it isn't even a volountary decision, and I would really prefer not to have any member of my family, but especially my son, slowly poisoned.

In Montreal, it's common to rent and live in small buildings where each floor is a residence in itself. In some older buildings, smoke actually travels very easily through areas of flooring (or ceiling), through ventilation, or even through plumbing! I live in such a dwelling, with my 2 1/2 year old son and his lovely mother. And the tenant that rents the residence below us, refuses to smoke outside, even when the weather is clearly warm enough to do so comfortably. The second and third-hand comes up into our apartment through various sections in our fairly old 3-story apartment building - we live on the top floor - and at times it is so dense that we can actually see it in the air. Clearly in those circumstances, we open the front and back doors to our balconies, and use a fan to properly ventilate the apartment. Actually, we need to use 3 fans, since the apartment is rather long and old fashioned, and there are no other sources of ventilation aside from the front and back balcony doors. However, we cannot leave our doors open all day and all night, since it would basically be equivalent to inviting people to steal from us, and we would freeze to death in the winter. Not to mention, that it probably has a measurable effect on our heating & electricity bill. So when we come home, we often find that the apartment smells awful. To be specific, it smells like a mixture of cigarette smoke and fabreeze, which our neighbor downstairs thoughfully uses to mask the odor. Thanks for the thought, but the fabreeze really doesn't make it smell any better, and it certainly isn't reducing the health risks to my son.

I find it particularly bothersome when I hear my son cough in the middle of the night and I go into the kitchen to get him a glass of water, only to be greeted by a cloud of carcinogens. It's really no wonder why he's coughing. 

It's most certainly not healthy for our son, or us, at any time of the day or night. I've asked our neighbor politely to only smoke on the balcony, making specific mention about my concern for my son, and I've even asked the landlord to speak with our neighbor, but this hasn't made a difference and has only made our neighborly relationship less pleasant. Actually, our landlord lives in the building too, and he shares the exact same cloud of carcinogens coming up through the flooring. He also said it's intolerable at times, but unless there's a law about it, there's really not much more he can do. Moving is not an option. We really like our place, and from the landlord's perspective, he's stuck - this building is his property, business, and home. We live near a great park and we get a great sunset on our balcony. The kids in the neighborhood all seem happy, it's minutes from downtown and just far enough to be not down-towny, and ... well, there's a really great park across the street!

When will smoking laws catch up with common sense!?

I think this is a reasonable suggestion to the committee responsible for making smoking laws. Although the residences in question are not public buildings, there are direct effects on the health and safety of members of the public. It's basically the same logic that requires drivers to drive slowly in an area where a deaf child lives, even if it's not their child. Logical, right? Complaints would probably be followed by a building inspection and a mandatory no-smoking sign. I'm just hoping that maybe someone in the Ontario & Quebec governments will read this post and decide to finally take some action so that smoking laws catch up with common sense.

3 comments:

Christopher Friedt said...

This morning I woke up greeted by the cloud in my bedroom and kitchen, accompanied by a sore throat and burning eyes, and the sound of my son crying.

Time to turn the fans on and write a comment ;-)

I think I need to use this blog post to collect signatures in a petition-like manner. So if anyone does read my blog, and cares about the subject, please leave a comment below!

Anonymous said...

If you own your own house, have no children or pets, and have no desire to make use of the health care system - I say smoke until you croak.

Otherwise, it's not your space to poison the other people living in a shared, rented building. It's selfish, negligent, rude, and dangerous to other people's health and well-being.

I'm fed up too!

2 thumbs up for your post!

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