HEALTH--Public Response to Smoke-Free Places Released ----------------------------------------------------------------- Health Minister Jim Smith tabled the results of a public consultation on smoke-free places today. The results summarized nearly 2,000 responses to a discussion paper, titled Smoke-Free Places --Towards Healthier Communities in Nova Scotia, released in the spring. "The Smoke-Free Places discussion paper helped open the lines of communication around the issue of second-hand smoke in our province," said Dr. Smith. "We felt it was important to gather input from Nova Scotians before going ahead with smoke-free legislation." Approximately 6,700 copies of the discussion paper were distributed and 1,993 individuals responded to the questionnaire. A number of individuals and groups, such as Smoke-Free Nova Scotia, the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Nova Scotia School Smoking Prevention Coalition, also submitted comments and concerns. The consultation found that: -the issue of second-hand smoke was very important to 81 per cent of respondents -of the respondents who smoke, the majority described the issue of second-hand smoke as somewhat important -42 per cent of respondents indicated either they or a member of their immediate household suffered from an illness that was aggravated by second-hand smoke (this figure included 18 per cent of the smokers who responded to the questionnaire) -asthma and allergies were the most common conditions aggravated by smoking A high level of support existed among respondents for introducing no-smoking regulations in areas related to children, sports and health --specifically, day-care centres, schools, indoor sports and recreation facilities, and hospitals. The numbers were also high for introducing no-smoking regulations in restaurants (79 per cent), taxis (86 per cent) and workplaces (83 per cent). "We will work with the hospitality industry and the business community to share the results of the consultation and to develop a reasonable course of action," said Merv Ungurain, director of the Tobacco Control Unit of the Department of Health. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Nova Scotia. -30- Contact: Lori MacLean Department of Health 902-424-5025 E-mail: ngr Dec. 3, 1997 2:10 p.m.