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Toronto health board calls for wider smoking ban covering restaurant patios

A man holds a cigarette.

ILYA NAYMUSHIN/REUTERS

Toronto's Board of Health is calling for the city to expand its anti-smoking rules and ban smokers from lighting up on bar and restaurants patios, outdoor sports fields and public squares.

The proposal endorsed Monday also says entrances to public buildings as well as hospital grounds, park amenities and beaches used for swimming should be declared no-smoking zones.

Currently, the city prohibits smoking inside workplaces, eateries and bars and in vehicles with small children present.

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Medical Officer of Health Dr. David McKeown released a report two weeks ago suggesting the sweeping changes, which would need to be approved by city council to take effect.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said that while he's not a smoker he's still against the proposals.

"I don't like government getting involved and telling people where they can smoke and where they can't."

Ford said it's not clear how much the proposed ban would cost and how it would be enforced.

"There's a number of variables here that no one seems to have the answer for. So right now, no I'm not going to have a nanny state where the government's going to come in and tell you, 'you can do this, you can do that,"' Ford said.

"We have enough restrictions on smoking as is."

Premier Kathleen Wynne said before the health board vote that Toronto's actions raise questions about whether there should be a provincial ban on smoking in public places.

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"I think it's a reasonable question to ask, should there be a different set of rules province-wide," she said.

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