Ontario nurses dismayed government is backing away from sound health policy
TORONTO, Oct. 20, 2010– The health of thousands of Ontarians hangs in the balance after the McGuinty government’s decision to shelve a report recommending dozens of sound anti-smoking measures, nurses say.
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) says it’s dismayed the provincial government would announce it had made enough progress on anti-smoking laws on the same day the Tobacco Strategy Advisory Group (TSAG) released its report at Queen’s Park.
The report titled, Building On Our Gains, Taking Action Now, sets out a five-year strategy to control tobacco. It includes recommendations aimed at licensing tobacco retailers, introducing new guidelines for cigarette packaging, and expanding areas where smoking is prohibited to include restaurants, bar patios, and doorways and entrances of public buildings and playgrounds. The report also recommends amending the province’s Residential Tenancies Act so landlords can include non-smoking language within leases.
We’ve made lots of headway on this issue and while we may be recognized as having the toughest anti-smoking laws in North America, our work is far from done,” says RNAO President, David McNeil, adding that thousands of young people continue to take up this habit and many die unnecessarily.
In fact, RNAO says each year in Ontario, 13,000 people die from tobacco-related illnesses.
The role of government is to lead on healthy public policy,” says Executive Director Doris Grinspun, who is a member of the TSAG. “Smoking is one of the most important public health threats of our time and we can’t afford to wait another day because this is too important. We urge politicians from all parties to set aside petty politics and do what is right for Ontarians.”
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.
Director of Communications
Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO)
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