Grey Bruce Medical Officer of Health Doctor Hazel Lynn is disappointed the provincial government has not updated the Smoke Free Ontario Act as was planned for July 1st.
Lynn is concerned that with the October 17th marijuana legalization date drawing nearer, the government won't have an act that applies to pot smoking.
The new 2017 act was set to regulate the sale, supply, use, display, and promotion of tobacco and vapour products as well as the smoking and vaping of medical cannabis.
Lynn says the Ford Government put the act updates on hold when they came into power, "They wanted to study it, is what we were told," says Lynn.
She says pushing for including sections that deal with marijuana is a proactive approach on the part of health units.
Public Health Units received a letter from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, saying the government intends to work with the public, experts and businesses to re-examine the evidence related to vaping as a smoking cessation tool.
Lynn wants to add that vaping is not a good way to quit smoking. "They say that vaping is better than tobacco, well, we don't know if it is or not. We haven't used it long enough."
Looking ahead to the eventual arrival of mom-and-pop pot shops, Lynn feels some people need to be protected from marketing or encouragement "Marijuana is a significant drug. It's really bad for children and really bad for pregnant moms and their babies."
While Lynn is disappointed the clock is ticking without an updated Smoke Free Ontario Act that includes marijuana, she notes, "I think its important to decriminalize it because it's used so much now, and to get a criminal record because you smoked a bit of pot, to me, is just not very smart."
The previous acts are still enforced, meaning the smoking or holding of lighted tobacco is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces and public places, including hospital grounds, child care centres, common areas of multi-unit housing complexes, bar and restaurant patios, and 20 metres from playgrounds, sports fields and spectator areas.
The rules around the sale, promotion and advertising of tobacco products are the same.