Society encouraged by changes to Tobacco Sales Act



    VANCOUVER, March 6 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon
Division says changes to the Tobacco Sales Act announced today show the B.C
government will keep promises it made last November to improve tobacco control
in B.C.
    "Premier Gordon Campbell announced similar tobacco control measures last
year and we have been looking forward to seeing how these plans would be
implemented," said Barbara Kaminsky, CEO for the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C.
and Yukon Division.
    "We are pleased the government action announced today by Health Minister
George Abbott confirms they will indeed be implemented."
    Kaminsky says B.C. used to lead the way in the fight against tobacco but
fell to ninth overall behind other provinces and territories across Canada in
terms of tobacco control measures.
    "For the last several years, we've lobbied the provincial government to
eliminate the patchwork of municipal bylaws that exist and implement
province-wide tobacco control measures to prevent addiction, reduce disease,
and save lives," she said.
    Several B.C. municipalities have implemented local tobacco control
by-laws. In February 2007, White Rock banned smoking at entranceways to public
facilities. Abbotsford plans to enact similar legislation and extend it to
include playgrounds and outdoor sporting venues. Patio smoking bans are also
under consideration in the Capital Regional District, which includes Victoria.
    The new legislation announced today includes a ban on tobacco use in
schools and on school grounds, which according to Kaminsky will help prevent
many youth from taking up smoking and increase the likelihood they will never
start.
    Studies show the vast majority of smokers begin smoking before the age of
19. What's more, those most at-risk to begin smoking are teenagers.
    Tobacco consumption remains the largest single preventable cause of death
and disease, killing more than 6,000 British Columbians each year. Cigarette
smoking causes about 30 per cent of cancers in Canada and more than 85 per
cent of lung cancers. In addition, second-hand smoke is linked to the death of
140 non-smoking British Columbians each year.
    "We know British Columbians need supportive environments that make
healthy choices easier choices, and we're happy to be in a position to start
to catch up to other jurisdictions and continue our work towards making B.C.
smoke-free."

    Founded in 1938, the Canadian Cancer Society is a national,
community-based organization that seeks to eradicate cancer and improve the
quality of life of people living with cancer. The Society provides valuable
cancer information services, funds research and educates Canadians on cancer
risks. In British Columbia and the Yukon, it has funded $19 million in
B.C.-based research over the last five years and recently established the
Canadian Cancer Society Chair in the Primary Prevention of Cancer at UBC.





For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Marcelo Dominguez, Manager,
Media Relations, Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division, T: (604)
675-7340, C: (778) 686-1300, E: mdominguez@bc.cancer.ca

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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