Saskatchewan - proposed legislation to ban people from smoking in cars carrying kids plus..

December 4, 2009 - REGINA, Saskatchewan Proposed new tobacco control legislation will ban people from smoking in vehicles carrying kids under 16 and prohibit cigarette sales in pharmacies.

Back on on Monday, October 26th Saskatchewan Health Minister Don McMorris said the government is looking at updating its no-smoking law with new anti-tobacco legislation expected to be introduced later this fall. THIS IS IT..

Proposed anti-tobacco legislation received first reading in the Saskatchewan legislature on Wednesday, December 2nd..

The law won't include a province-wide crackdown on smoking on restaurant and bar patios, an idea Health Minister Don McMorris said earlier this fall the Saskatchewan Party government was considering. "That doesn't mean that we won't move there in the future," McMorris said Wednesday, December 2nd. "But at this time we've introduced what we think is a pretty strong piece of legislation to help reduce tobacco use in the province."

McMorris said while there was positive support from some groups for a patio smoking ban he also heard a lot of negative feedback.

Municipalities can still choose to put in place rules that ban smoking in outdoor seating areas, as Saskatoon has done, said McMorris, who dismissed suggestions the province is passing the buck. "Any time you introduce tobacco legislation there are many supporters but there are also some detractors ... what would be wimping out would be not to introduce any tobacco legislation," he said.

The Saskatchewan Hotel and Hospitality Association has previously said a patio smoking ban would be a particular blow to many rural hoteliers that sunk money into building patios after taking a hit from the earlier ban on smoking inside.

In Saskatoon, Mayor Don Atchison said he thinks local restrictions on smoking on decks have caused few problems for businesses and are popular with the public. "Quite frankly, what we've done in Saskatoon is create a level playing field for everyone because some have patios and some aren't able to have them," he said Wednesday. He isn't concerned with the city being out of step with the rest of the province on the issue. "I guess perhaps we're just slightly ahead."

NDP Health critic Judy Junor said a progression of the province's smoking ban to include patios seems like the logical next step. "As far as we could tell the minister was going to bring that in. I'd be interested to know what caused him to remove it," Junor said.

While calling the decision not to include a patio smoking ban a disappointment, Saskatchewan health-related organizations welcomed the move to ban smoking in vehicles with children as well as the bill's other measures. "This is a very important day for public health. These initiatives we sought for long, long time and many of them we got today," said Donna Pasiechnik, tobacco control manager for the Canadian Cancer Society. "We had been behind many provinces and this brings us in line with what most provinces are doing," she said, adding the government continues to work with groups on a tobacco control strategy.

The legislation, which could take effect in late 2010, will also prohibit tobacco use on school grounds and in enclosed common spaces of apartment buildings, and stop the sale of flavoured little cigars. Outdoor signs that advertise tobacco, such as the ones sometimes seen outside of gas stations, will no longer be allowed.

Many pharmacies have already quit selling tobacco products but the new law will also restrict large stores, such as grocery stores, that have pharmacies in one area and sell cigarettes in another. McMorris said such stores may still be able to sell tobacco but could be required to set up a separate area to do so. Those details will be set out in regulations that will accompany the law.

The province joins Ontario and Nova Scotia and several American states that have similar bans in place. British Columbia has passed a ban on smoking in cars when children under 16 are present, but it is not yet in force. New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.)are considering similar bans, with the P.E.I. legislature expected to take action this spring. The U.S. states of Maine, California, Arkansas and Louisiana have passed similar laws, as has Puerto Rico.

Reference: Saskatchewan proposing ban on smoking in vehicles carrying kids under 16 by Angela Hall, Regina Leader-Post - Division of Canwest Publishing Inc, 12/2/2009.