The Ontario Lung Association Applauds the Ontario Government's Commitment to
Seek Damages Related to Tobacco-related Illness

TORONTO, Sept. 29 /CNW/ - On behalf of all Ontario residents touched by the devastation of tobacco-related respiratory illnesses, the Ontario Lung Association applauds today's announcement that the McGuinty government is suing tobacco manufacturers.

Smoking and tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of lung disease and death in Canada, killing more than 13,000 people in Ontario annually.

"The Lung Association knows all too well that behind every health care dollar spent because of tobacco use, a family has suffered pain and loss, with too many Ontarians paying the ultimate price," says George Habib, president and CEO, Ontario Lung Association. "We welcome this announcement by the Ontario government and its effort to recover the massive costs incurred as a result of the decades-long denial by the tobacco industry of the effects of tobacco products."

Tobacco industry product use, including second-hand smoke exposure, leads to major respiratory health effects including exacerbated asthma in children, alterations in their lung development and chronic middle ear disease. Adults suffer from respiratory tract symptoms, reduced lung function and acute irritation of the upper respiratory tract. And, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the most serious chronic adult respiratory disease impacted by smoking, where tobacco use is responsible for 83-90 per cent of all cases.

Eight provinces have adopted legislation to facilitate a lawsuit, while a bill has been introduced in Alberta and, in PEI, the government has said that legislation is under consideration.

ABOUT THE ONTARIO LUNG ASSOCIATION

The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit health promotion organizations. For more than 30 years, The Lung Association has been a leader in tobacco control. The Lung Association is concerned with the prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and with air quality and its effect on lung health. The Ontario Lung Association was incorporated in 1945, and has community officers across the province.

Visit the Ontario Lung Association online at www.on.lung.ca, or call 1-888-344-LUNG (5864). Certified respiratory educators are available to help anyone interested in quitting smoking. Ask for our "Making Quit Happen" smoking cessation guide.

SOURCE Ontario Lung Association

For further information: For further information: Sherry Zarins, Project Manager, Government Relations and Public Affairs, Ontario Lung Association, (416) 864-9911 ext. 267, szarins@on.lung.ca


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