FREDERICTON (GNB) – Amendments to the Smoke-free Places Act were introduced today to help limit the public’s exposure to second-hand smoke and help New Brunswickers live longer, healthier lives.

“Your government is listening to New Brunswickers’ concerns regarding smoking and tobacco use and taking concrete action to protect their health,” said Health Minister Victor Boudreau. “By continuing to enhance the act, we are building on the government’s commitment to create a smoke-free province.”

The legislative amendments will add the grounds of the Regional Health Authorities to the areas where smoking is not permitted.

All hospital grounds in the province have been smoke-free since Oct. 5. These amendments formalize that commitment which, in turn, contributes to reducing harm, promoting healthy choices and supporting a safe and healthy environment for patients, staff and visitors.

The legislative amendments also prohibit the smoking of any substance where cigarettes, electronic cigarettes and waterpipes are currently prohibited.

“Our government supports the Trudeau government’s initiative to legalize marijuana,” said Boudreau. “In preparation for this change, we are ensuring New Brunswickers are protected from second-hand marijuana smoke in the same way they are protected from second-hand cigarette smoke.”

These amendments will broaden the definition of smoke to any substance that can be smoked, vaped or inhaled.

Boudreau said that in addition to these proposed amendments, addressing the root causes of smoking is a priority across government departments and said additional measures will be introduced in the coming year to help drive a generational shift in the population.

The Smoke-free Places Act bans smoking in enclosed public places, indoor workplaces, on school grounds and in vehicles with children under the age of 16. Following 2015 amendments, honouring a commitment to reduce smoking in public places frequented by children, smoking and vaping are no longer permitted in many outdoor places including: outdoor playgrounds, public walking trails, provincial parks and on patios where food and/or alcohol is served.