Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Legislation Governing Tobacco Use in Ontario, Canada Retirement Homes

Thursday, November 12, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jessica A. Kulak1, Jennifer Beideman2 and Celia Watt2, (1)University at Buffalo - SUNY, (2)State University of New York, Brockport
Introduction: Legislation banning smoking in indoor public places is considered a key component of a comprehensive tobacco control program, yet many of these policies allow exemptions for privately-owned residential facilities.  The purpose of this study is to provide a descriptive analysis of municipal-level legislative policies relevant to retirement homes in Ontario, Canada. 

Methods: A stratified random sample of retirement facilities in Ontario was generated (n=75), and the municipal-level (region, town, or city) bylaws were obtained; only 19 facilities were governed by municipal legislation that encompassed retirement facilities.  A rubric was developed using components of “model policies” and independent reviews of the bylaws were conducted.

Results: In this sample, there are 19 retirement facilities which are governed by 8 different municipal bylaws.  In the evaluation of bylaw comprehensiveness across the six rubric categories (administrative / authority issues, notification of the bylaw, issues relevant to resident smoking or non-smoking, safety concerns, cessation assistance or encouragement, and smoking areas),  overall scores indicated a general lack of comprehensiveness (ranging from 37.5% to 63.8%, with a score of 100% indicating a comprehensive bylaw).  

Conclusion: This analysis shows that retirement facilities are not always explicitly mentioned in legislation, and when included, lack comprehensiveness. While communities may have progressive legislation that is intended to protect smokers and nonsmokers alike, the exemption of retirement facilities from these bylaws continues to marginalize the aging population. This paper encourages lawmakers at both the provincial and municipal level to develop comprehensive and inclusive legislation that will safeguard older Canadians in retirement homes from the danger of secondhand smoke. Provincial legislators should consider amending the Smoke Free Ontario Act to include the addition of retirement homes, while municipal policy-makers should consider the inclusion of comprehensive legislation that will safeguard older Canadians in retirement facilities from the danger of secondhand smoke and other risks inherent with smoking among the aging population (i.e., risks of burns, fires).