Canadian Environmental Health Atlas

Understanding Our Environment is Key to Promoting Health and Preventing Disease

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Key Points

Public Smoking Bans

• People who are exposed regularly to secondhand smoke are at higher risk for
   developing cardiovascular and respiratory disease.

• Adults with pre-existing heart or lung disease, children, infants, and pregnant
   women are particularly vulnerable to secondhand smoke.

• In the 20th century, a better understanding of the hazards posed by toxic substances
   in tobacco led governments to ban smoking in public spaces to protect people from
   the adverse effects of secondhand smoke.

• Researchers studying public smoking bans found many positive effects, including a
   reduction in hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

• Smoking bans eventually altered public perception, making smoking unacceptable in
   private as well as public spaces, encouraging many people to quit smoking, and
   conveying a powerful message about the dangers of secondhand smoke.

• Over the past several decades, all Canadian provinces and territories have enacted
   legislation to ensure that restaurants, bars, and workplaces are smoke-free.