OTTAWA, Jan. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - On the occasion of National Non Smoking
Week, Canadian health agencies working together through the Canadian
Coalition for Action on Tobacco (CCAT) are encouraging more action on
tobacco control in Canada.
"We need to treat the tobacco epidemic like an epidemic," explained Rob
Cunningham, senior policy advisor with the Canadian Cancer Society.
"Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in
Canada, and we need sustained federal government action in response.
Other countries are looking at new ways to protect their citizens from
"The government previously set a goal to reduce the number of people who
smoke to 1 in 8 Canadians," said Robert Walsh, Executive Director of
the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control. "We believe that achieving
this goal of 12% smoking prevalence should be a government priority,
and that there are effective measures that this government can put in
place that will make this happen.
"Meeting the government's goal for smoking rates will help avert
thousands of preventable deaths from heart disease, cancer and lung
disease," said Bobbe Wood, President of the Heart and Stroke
Foundation. Health Canada reports that tobacco use is responsible for
37,000 deaths annually.
"Australia is looking at new options to address tobacco use, and Canada
should do so too," said Lorraine Fry, Executive Director of the
Non-Smokers' Rights Association. Australia, which has a similar history
of tobacco use as Canada, has just launched a new strategy with the
2018 goal of reducing daily smoking rates to 10% in the general
population and reducing aboriginal smoking rates by half. Ms. Fry
praised Australia's work on tax levels, plain packaging, more complete
bans on promotion, mass media campaigns and support for quitting.
"We urge Health Minister Aglukkaq to bring forward a ban on all
flavoured tobacco products to respond to the candy and fruit flavoured
products that remain on the market," said Cynthia Callard, Executive
Director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "The renewed health
warnings should be applied to all tobacco products, and not only
cigarettes and some small cigars as required by the recent regulations.
These health organizations urge Health Canada to take steps towards the
implementation of plain packaging, following Australia's lead. The new
picture health warnings required as of June 2012 are a very positive
measure, but additional measures are needed to drive smoking rates down
as fast as possible.
The member organizations of the Canadian Coalition for Action on Tobacco
are offering their support to Minister Leona Aglukkaq in implementing
the steps necessary to reduce smoking rates to the 12% prevalence goal
adopted by the Harper government in 2007.
Member organizations of the Canadian Coalition for Tobacco Control are
Action on Smoking and Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian
Council for Tobacco Control, the Canadian Dental Association, the
Canadian Medical Association, the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle
du tabac, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Non-Smokers' Rights
Association, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians
for a Smoke-Free Canada.
Comparison of tobacco control measures in Canada and Australia
SOURCE: Physicians for Smoke-Free Canada
For further information:
Robert Walsh, Canadian Council for Tobacco Control: 613 567 3050 x 107
Rob Cunningham, Canadian Cancer Society: 613 565 2522 x 4981
Lucie Boileau, Canadian Medical Association: 613 731 8610 x 1266
Flory Doucas, Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac: 514 598 5533
JD Fraser, Heart and Stroke Foundation - 613 569-4361, ext 273
Lorraine Fry, Non Smokers' Rights Association: 416 928 2900
Michael Perley, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco: 416 340 2992
Neil Collishaw, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada: 613 233 4878