P.E.I Rental Units Go Smoke Free

The Canadian province of Prince Edward Island has encouraged landlords to make their rental units smoke free in order to encourage safer homes. They mention health concerns as a motivating factor for this, I wonder if the threat of accidental fires was also an issue. Either way, good for P.E.I for making safer smoke-free homes.

Under P.E.I. law, property owners can evict a tenant if they violate a no-smoking policy that’s included in the lease. Cora MacDonald, superintendent of the smoke-free Parklane Place Apartments in Charlottetown, told CBC News Tuesday the policy saves money on repairs from smoke damage, and helps fill the building.

“We figured it would be a drawing card for some tenants, because a lot of our tenants are seniors and some have health issues,” said MacDonald.

“We are fully rented now, and I think we’re ahead of what we expected as far as being totally rented.”

The Council for a Smoke-free P.E.I. is hosting a public workshop for landlords on smoke-free buildings at the end of October. Council member Frank Morrison said many landlords don’t know about the policy, but more are taking advantage of it.

“I think it has definitely risen in the last few years,” said Morrison.

“Certainly if you go back five years, I wouldn’t have known of any that were smoke free at that time.” He said roughly 10 per cent of rental properties in P.E.I. now have no-smoking policies.

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Smoking Bans Decrease Hospitalization

Toronto phased in a ban on smoking starting in 1999 and ending in 2004 and the results are in: banning smoking was (and still is) a good thing.

“It confirms that public policy can make a difference,” said Dr. Alisa Naiman, lead author of the study published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences study was the first to look at the effect of anti-smoking legislation on a wide range of smoking-related conditions. It examined three cardiovascular ailments — heart attacks, strokes and angina — and three respiratory ones — asthma, pneumonia and chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Previous studies have focused solely on heart attacks.

Naiman said researchers were surprised by the findings’ consistency — the fact that hospital visits plummeted in much the same way for both cardiovascular and respiratory conditions.

Hospitalization for cardiovascular conditions dropped 39 per cent, including a 17.4 per cent decrease in heart attacks, while hospital visits for respiratory conditions fell by 33 per cent.

Read more at The Star.

“Nom nom nom” Says the Cement

Our good friend algae is at it again and is cleaning smokestacks!

A mixture of hot gas rises out of a flue stack at the St. Marys Cement plant about 50 kilometres west of Waterloo. But not all the CO2-rich exhaust is vented to the open air.

Some is redirected through a 15-centimetre thick pipe connected to the side of the stack. The pipe carries the gas into a high-tech facility where a species of algae from the neighbouring Thames River uses photosynthesis to absorb the carbon dioxide and release oxygen in return.

“It’s a small model of what a big full-scale facility could be,” says Martin Vroegh, environment manager with St. Marys Cement Inc., headquartered in Toronto. The algae project, which went live last fall, is believed to be the first in the world to demonstrate the capture of CO2 from a cement plant.

The idea, Vroegh explained, is to turn CO2 into a commodity rather than treat it as a liability. The CO2-consuming algae will be continually harvested, dried using waste heat from the plant, and then burned as a fuel inside the plant’s cement kilns. Alternatively, the green goop can be processed into biofuels for the company’s truck fleet.

Keep reading at The Star.

Thanks Mike!

Alberta Takes Smoking Ban to the Next Level

Canadian provinces and cities are sticking up to big tobacco and laying down the law to protect the health of people who choose not to smoke.

Alberta has followed previous examples of smoking bans and now has chosen to become the exemplar of smoking bans. The law came into effect on Jan 1, so smokers are obviously still adjusting to the change, and non-smokers are adjusting to cleaner air (I guess).

The new law, one of the toughest in Canada, will ban smoking in any public building, including restaurants and bars.

Many larger cities and towns already have bylaws that restrict smoking, but the new provincial law will ban smoking right across the province.

Anti-smoking groups say the new provincial legislation puts the province ahead of just about every other jurisdiction.

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