Going for Gold - DOC by CSRKFZ

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Going for Gold! Concerned citizens want to eliminate second-hand
smoke in our community

Thursday, January 18, 2007
Fort McMurray, AB
Second-hand smoke is more than an annoyance; it can have a dramatic impact and serious health effects
on you, your children, spouse, friends and co-workers. The Wood Buffalo Tobacco Reduction Coalition
(WBTRC) is launching a public campaign for a 100 % ban on smoking in all public places and
workplaces.

“Most smokers are aware of the health risks of smoking but are less familiar with the impact of second-
hand smoke; it is more than just an annoyance to non-smokers,” says Judy Corcoran, the Health
Promotion Liaison for the Northern Lights Health Region.

Each year, an estimated 47,500 Canadians die from smoking and an estimated 3,400 are Albertans. In
addition, about 1,000 Canadian nonsmokers die each year from diseases caused by second-hand smoke.

Corcoran and Kathy McKenna are co-chairs for the organization, which has been working to reduce the
use of tobacco products by Wood Buffalo citizens since the 1980s. The WBTRC will be participating in
community events, making presentations to community groups and local businesses, and finally
advocating for council to adopt a Gold Standard bylaw in the near future. The WBTRC is looking for the
community’s support.

 “We have developed information packages, updated our website to increase community awareness, and
gained the support of community groups and individuals,” says Corcoran.

“The major challenge to implementing smoke-free legislation is the fear of negative economic impact.
There is no objective, independent evidence of any long-term net negative impacts in restaurants or any
other hospitality venue,” states McKenna, a Respiratory Health Educator with the Northern Lights Health
Region. “In fact, any fall-off in business from smokers ceasing to patronize certain establishments is
offset by increased patronage from non-smokers. Health Canada statistics shows 80 per cent of Albertans
as either never having smoked or people who quit smoking.”

McKenna continues, “Our goal is to inform the public of the health, economic, and environmental
benefits of a ‘Gold Standard’ non-smoking bylaw in Wood Buffalo.”

Corcoran states, “Creating a smoke free environment sends the message that smoking is unhealthy and
will hopefully prevent youth from starting. Of Alberta’s youth, nine per cent had their first cigarette
between the ages of five and 11, 30 % between 12 and 14. Currently, there are more than 62,400 smokers
between the ages of 12 and 19 in Alberta! This trend has to end.”

“Smoke-free laws are similar to drinking and driving laws. Those laws do not prohibit drinking, but
regulate behaviour endangering others,” McKenna says. “Smoke-free legislation reduces the number of
cigarettes smoked, encourages people to quit for good, and stops many from starting in the first place.”

The ‘Gold Standard’ refers to a 100 % smoke-free public places and work places bylaw with no
designated smoking rooms or exemptions. Currently, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo has a
‘Silver Standard’ bylaw restricting smoking in facilities where youth may be present and includes
exemptions for bars, bingo halls, and casinos.

For more information about smoke-free legislation, or any upcoming events or activities, please contact
the Wood Buffalo Tobacco Reduction Coalition at (780) 880-8545 or visit the website www.wbtrc.ca.

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Contact:
Rolando Inzunza
Tobacco Reduction Coordinator
Wood Buffalo Tobacco Reduction Coalition
Telephone: (780) 880-8545
Email: info@wbtrc.ca

								
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