Health Unit and Fire Departments Applaud Smoke-Free Policy in Social Housing in Perth County
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Perth County ̶ January 20-26, 2019, is National Non-Smoking Week in Canada. One of the aims of this event is to promote the right of individuals to breathe air free from second-hand smoke. As such, the Perth District Health Unit and Perth County Fire Departments would like to applaud the Perth and Stratford Housing Corporation for implementing a smoke-free policy in and on all of its properties in Stratford, Perth County, and St. Marys.
The policy was implemented on August 1, 2018, and prohibits all residents and visitors from smoking or vaping in and on all Perth and Stratford Housing Corporation (PSHC) properties, including:
- within nine metres of any apartment building, single family home, duplex or townhouse dwelling
- the interiors of all rental units, balconies, patios and common areas.
Current tenants who have signed lease agreements before the policy was enacted are exempt from this policy as long as they remain in their current unit.
In addition to protecting the health of Perth residents, this policy also aims to improve safety and reduce fire risk. “The number one ignition source of fatal fires is lit smoking materials, and 89 percent of all home fires in Ontario are started by lit smoking materials,” says Roddy MacDonald, Fire Prevention Officer of the Stratford Fire Department. “Fires caused by cigarettes and other smoking materials are preventable; not smoking in the home or on balconies is one of the easiest ways to prevent fires in multi-unit or shared housing environments.”
According to research reported in 2015 by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, 89 percent of adults in Ontario think that smoking should not be allowed in multi-unit housing. “Smoke-free homes are the norm now,” says Adrienne Adas, Public Health Promoter at the Perth District Health Unit. “More people understand the health risks of second-hand smoke for the non-smokers around them and choose not to smoke in their homes.”
Currently there are at least 12 other municipalities in Ontario that have implemented smoke-free policies in social housing. More than 55 private multi-unit dwellings in Perth County have gone smoke-free.
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