As Chair of the BOH I am pleased to say that the Board approved staff’s report on prohibiting the use of waterpipes/hookahpipes in public places and workplaces. BOH are recommending that the Community and Protective Services Committee recommend that Council approve this report. OPH, in conjunction with any other relevant Departments, will implement Council directions emanating from this report, as appropriate. Upon City Council approval, staff of the City Clerk and Solicitor Department and Emergency and Protective Services will prepare the necessary by-laws for enactment. Staff will also apply to the Province of Ontario for the required set fines regarding new or amended offences, as required, as per the process set out by the Ministry of the Attorney General.
There is growing evidence of the harmful health effects of herbal water pipe smoking and on second-hand smoke exposure to workers and to the general public. All water pipe smoke contains many of the same toxicants that are known to cause cancer, heart and lung disease. Furthermore, there is an increase among youth that have tried a water pipe. Ottawa data collected in 2014 shows that nearly 50% of those aged 18 to 24 reporting that they have tried a water-pipe.
The proposed new by-law and amendments to current by-laws aim to protect Ottawa residents, including children, from second-hand smoke exposure; prevent youth initiation of smoking water pipes and de-normalize smoking behaviors among youth and young adults. At its meeting on April 18, 2016, the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa Health Unit approved recommendations included in Ottawa Public Health’s report “Let’s Clear the Air 2.0: 2016 Action Plan”. This Action Plan aims to protect people from second-hand smoke exposure, to prevent youth initiation and to de-normalize smoking behaviors among youth and young adults through three main focus areas. Should Council approve the water-pipe regulation recommendations, a phased-in approach to enforcement would be undertaken along with a public awareness campaign designed to support public understanding of the new water pipe regulations.