Edmonton – Sixteen Alberta municipalities, school boards and post-secondary institutions are receiving Smoke-Free Spaces recognition awards for approving comprehensive smoke-free bylaws and policies in their communities, school districts and on their campuses. The awards are being presented today in Edmonton by an alliance of health and recreation organizations.
“We applaud these trail-blazing leaders for providing smoke-free indoor and outdoor environments for their residents, visitors, staff and students” said Les Hagen, executive director of ASH. “Cannabis legalization has the potential to renormalize smoking and these public bodies have decided to get in front of this issue by extending their smoke-free policies to include any substance that can be smoked or vaped. We encourage all public bodies in Alberta to follow the lead of these exemplars and to place a top priority on protecting the quality of life of their residents, staff, and students as cannabis legalization approaches”.
The new Smoke-Free Spaces program recognizes local governments and public bodies that have gone the extra mile to promote healthy, smoke-free indoor and outdoor spaces. The program was developed by a partnership of prominent health and recreation organizations including Action on Smoking & Health, Alberta Blue Cross, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention, Alberta Recreation and Parks Association, Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and The Lung Association.
“Tobacco use is the most widespread and deadly form of substance abuse in Canada” said Kate Chidester of the Heart & Stroke Foundation. “We are delighted to know that a growing number of municipalities and public institutions are updating their smoking bylaws and policies to enable more smoke-free spaces. We support comprehensive policy measures that address the public consumption of all legal substances in the most consistent manner possible.”
The award winners have been officially designated as Smoke-Free Communities, Smoke-Free School Districts and Smoke-Free Campuses by the program partners. The winners will be supplied with signage, posters, decals, artwork and online resources to promote their new designation to residents, visitors, staff and students. The materials are intended to assist with the implementation and promotion of their new smoke-free bylaws and policies.
“These early adopters are blazing the trail for other public bodies that are preparing for cannabis legalization” said Leigh Allard of the Lung Association. “Through our collective efforts we can ensure that cannabis legalization will not renormalize public smoking. Smoking bans are a cornerstone of the successful effort to reduce tobacco use and we can’t allow this tremendous health achievement to be jeopardized. We urge all public bodies in Alberta to follow these healthy role models. We are sending recruitment packages to every municipality, school board and post-secondary institution to encourage broad participation in the Smoke-Free Spaces recognition program.”
More information about the Smoke-Free Spaces awards program can be found at www.smokefreespaces.ca.
Contact: Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546
The Smoke-Free Spaces award winners are:
- City of Camrose
- City of Lloydminster
- Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
- Bow Valley College
- Burman University
- NorQuest College
- Northern Alberta Institute of Technology
- The King’s University
- Calgary Catholic School District
- Canadian Rockies Public Schools
- Edmonton Catholic Schools
- Holy Spirit Roman Catholic School Division
- Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education
- Pembina Hills Public Schools
- St. Paul Education Regional Division
- Wolf Creek Public Schools