I rise in the house today to speak about how our Smoke Free Places Act is benefiting individual Islanders and our health care system.
Madame Speaker, in June 2003 our Smoke Free Places Act came into effect – – – banning smoking in public places and work sites.
The primary purpose of the Act is to protect Islanders from the harmful effects of second hand tobacco smoke. A secondary purpose is to reduce the overall consumption of tobacco products by those who smoke.
Our Epidemiology Unit has examined changes in hospitalization rates since the introduction of our anti-smoking legislation. Conditions considered in this study include heart attack, angina, stroke, COPD, and asthma.
It gives me great pleasure to rise in the house today, and announce that hospital admissions for heart attacks and angina have been significantly reduced in Prince Edward Island after the introduction of the Smoke Free Places Act.
Based on this study, from 2003 to 2008, there has been a reduction of an estimated 350 cases of heart attack hospital admissions saving over 3.5 million dollars to the health system.
I’ll ask the speaker and the house for their indulgence – – because this is such great news.
This legislation, is keeping Islanders healthier and out of our hospital beds.
This analysis provides some of the first evidence of improved health outcomes associated with the Smoke Free Places Act … and it demonstrates the need for public health interventions on an on-going basis.
Madame Speaker, it is also important to note that in 2009 we took this legislation one step further, and introduced major amendments:
- we eliminated designated smoking rooms in public places and work places;
- we eliminated designated smoking areas on hospital grounds;
- we prohibited smoking in vehicles with minors under the ages of 19 present;
- and we prohibited smoking on patios or decks of eating establishments and licensed establishments during certain hours of operation
We won’t know the benefits of these amends for a number of years…but I am confident that these positive results will continue.
We know that tobacco is a major killer – it is a risk factor for cancer, stroke, heart disease, COPD, and many other illnesses. This legislation is making a difference in the lives of Islanders.
Thank you for your indulgence, and the time to speak about this important issue.