Pubdate: Tue, 13 Mar 2018
Source: Recorder & Times, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2018 Recorder and Times
Author: Sabrina Bedford
Page: A1


The local public health agency says smoking marijuana should be banned
in multi-unit buildings, including balconies

The local health unit is throwing its support behind the City of
Ottawa's public health agency after they called for a ban on smoking
marijuana inside multi-unit residential buildings - including on balconies.

Last week, Ottawa's acting medical officer of health recommended the
Ontario government extend its proposed ban on pot smoking in common
areas of condos, apartment buildings and university residences, hotels
and their balconies.

Dr. Vera Etches said the province should prohibit smoking of any kind
- - cannabis, e-liquids and herbal shisha products - in all multi-unit
residential buildings so non-smokers can be protected from the effects
of second-hand smoke.

Yves Decoste is the tobacco program coordinator at the Leeds,
Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit, and said they throw their
full support behind this ban since secondhand smoke of any kind is a
health hazard.

"Smoking kills one out of every two users," he said on

"There is no safe level of second-hand smoke when it comes to tobacco,
and we know it extends to marijuana as well."

The ministry currently says people are allowed to smoke in their
private homes unless they signed an agreement, lease or there are
condominium bylaws that say otherwise.

When used inside, the smoke ends up being shared trough ventilation
units, Decoste said, and even if people smoke on balconies it ends up
blowing into adjacent apartments.

"We know from the complaints that come in from tobacco and vaping
right now already, in multi-unit dwellings, the smoke or vapour does
end up (in other units)."

As far as electronic cigarettes go, "they are still an unregulated
product," he said.

"The liquid is unregulated, and we don't know the safety of those
substances. At this point, we're using a cautionary approach, saying
exposure should be limited for vapes." The same rules should apply for
those using cannabis for medical purposes, he said, since there is no
distinction between medicinal and recreational smoke.

'Second-hand smoke is second-hand smoke," he said.

The upcoming already restrictive cannabis legislation, set to become
law later this year, states the only place people are allowed to use
the drug recreationally will be in private residences.

But Decoste said a ban on smoking inside multi-unit dwellings could be
offset by creating common outdoor use areas.

"You're not inside and if you're in an area that is designated for
that purpose, people can avoid it. They can't avoid it inside because
that's their apartment," he said.

"But outside, hopefully it's on the property for the apartment
building and it's not something that everybody has to walk through but
a common area would facilitate that, especially for the residents that
would need to use it for medicinal purposes."
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