Toronto must start playing catchup to major US cities by banning chewing tobacco in all sports facilities

29 February 2016

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society and the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco are supporting Toronto Councillor Joe Mihevc’s proposal to enhance tobacco enforcement by restricting the use of chewing tobacco in all professional and amateur sports facilities in the city, including Rogers Centre.

In the Greater Toronto Area, 3.8% of students in Grade 7 to 12 reported that they had used chewing tobacco in the past year. Across Ontario, smokeless tobacco (chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, or snuff) is used by about 6% of students in Grades 7 to 12, representing more than 58,000 youth, says the 2015 Ontario Student Drug Use and Health Survey. Among male students, the prevalence of smokeless tobacco use is similar to cigarette smoking.

"Chewing tobacco poses dangerous health consequences for both youth and adults," says Joanne DiNardo, Senior Manager, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division. "Chew is another tobacco industry product that significantly contributes to oral and other cancers. Banning its use in Toronto sports facilities is a welcome step in what should be a Canada-wide effort to restrict its use."

Councillor Mihevc plans to table a motion at the next Board of Health meeting, on March 21, requesting the Medical Officer of Health provide a report on municipal actions, including legislative approaches, to restrict smokeless tobacco in Toronto sports facilities, a first for Canada and in step with a growing movement driving similar restrictions in the United States.

 Smokeless tobacco has long been a part of the culture of many professional sports. If implemented in Toronto, the city would be the first Canadian jurisdiction to impose smokeless tobacco restrictions, following in the steps of Boston, Los Angeles and New York, where MLB clubs support the implementation of city-wide bans.

“It is unacceptable that smokeless tobacco products are still used in both professional and amateur sports facilities across Toronto, despite efforts to eliminate them,” says Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. “We have progressive laws to restrict the use of other tobacco products. We cannot let the use of chewing tobacco continue."

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization dedicated to preventing cancer, saving lives and supporting people living with cancer through research funding, services and advocacy. We are Canada’s largest healthcare charity fighting all types of cancer and leading authority on cancer statistics and information. To learn more, call 1 888 939-3333 or visit cancer.ca.

For further information, please contact:
Daniel Paquette, dpPR
dp@dppr.ca
Cell:416-559-2694
Tel: 416-413-7714