Smoking now banned in GN-owned housing
New regulation among several included in new tobacco, cannabis and vaping law
As of Wednesday, people in Nunavut’s public and staff housing are no longer allowed to smoke inside their homes.
That’s one change in the territorial government’s updated smoking, vaping and cannabis law that has just come into effect.
New regulations also include the prohibition of smoking in hospitals and schools, sidewalks and trails, sports fields, in the car when a child is present, and at public events.
“These new laws acknowledge the negative health impacts from tobacco and cannabis products,” said Health Minister John Main in a statement.
The smoking rate in Nunavut is 74 per cent, which is four times the national average, according to Fellen Atienza, spokesperson for the Department of Health.
Atienza said the government did hear some complaints about the new regulations extending to GN-owned housing units.
“We just wanted to protect people, especially around environmental smoke,” she said.
In response to the updated laws, Nunavut Employees Union president Jason Rochon, whose union represents GN workers, said the union “supports all health and safety efforts at the territorial or municipal level.”
There is also now a prohibition on the sale of flavoured tobacco and vapour products in Nunavut.
Vaping is done using an electronic cigarette that holds nicotine and flavouring.
“It’s not as big a problem [in Nunavut], but we wanted to get ahead of it,” said Atienza.
Other provinces in Canada have also created vaping laws. Selling flavoured tobacco is prohibited in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories.
New federal rules incoming
The federal government is also pushing more regulations on smoking in an effort to get Canadians to curb the habit.
The federal government announced Wednesday that Canada will be the first country in the world to print health warnings on individual cigarettes.
Up to three-quarters of cigarette packages will have photo warnings of the health-related damage caused by smoking as well.
The new federal regulations will start Aug. 1 and be phased in over a three-year period.
Tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of death in Canada, killing 48,000 Canadians a year, the federal government stated in a news release.
Smoking is also linked to more than 40 diseases and conditions, with many poor health effects being reversed or reduced if one quits using tobacco.