MONTRÉAL, Dec. 11, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Montréal's director of public health and his Montréal sans tabac partners have launched a report entitled For a Tobacco-Free Generation. With 41 commitments, nearly 100 partners from health and social services and education, as well as municipal stakeholders, pharmacists and tobacco control groups have clearly expressed their will to speed up tobacco control efforts, reduce social inequalities and improve the protection of non-smokers.
Those commitments come under six key action areas:
- Review of the Tobacco Act
- Taxes and funding
- Public policy
- Initiatives targeting vulnerable clienteles
- Continuum of care and services
The report also presents the latest data on smoking and use of e-cigarettes, as well as signature initiatives implemented in Montréal.
Review of the Tobacco Act urgently needed
A series of recommendations target tobacco products (e.g. flavoured products, neutral packaging, water pipes); ban on smoking (e.g. in cars where there are children under 16 years old, inside and on the grounds of health and social services buildings, on the terraces and patios of bars and restaurants).
Another recommendation is aimed at municipalities' adopting regulations to control the use of tobacco in places not covered under the Act.
Tax increases are imperative
Among its recommendations, Montréal sans tabac calls for a progressive increase in the tax on tobacco products, a tax which has proven effective worldwide, including among disadvantaged groups. On average, a 10% increase reduces smoking prevalence by 2%; for every 1% drop in prevalence, $41 million in health care and services is saved annually.
Vulnerable groups targeted
Among people aged 15 and over, smoking prevalence can double (from 13% to 26%) according to Health and Social Service Centre district, and for 15- to 24-year-olds, the difference by district can triple. Therefore, it is especially important to boost our efforts aimed at young people through community projects and to involve post-secondary teaching institutions, as outlined in our commitments.
Dr. Massé emphasized that "economically and socially disadvantaged individuals are more likely to start smoking, smoke longer, fail more often when they try to quit, be exposed to secondhand smoke, and die prematurely."
E-cigarettes: Controls are needed
The director of public health and the Montréal sans tabac network has issued recommendations to different levels of government and to decision makers to ensure that maximum concentrations of nicotine and toxic products are set, and that e-cigarettes are treated and regulated as a tobacco products.
To find out more about the current situation in Montréal, in August 2015 the public health department (DSP) conducted a telephone survey of 2500 people aged 15 and over. Almost 15% of respondents had already used e-cigarettes. Among current smokers, 47% had used it and 8% used it every day. Among recent users, over 70% had also smoked conventional cigarettes. Survey results are available on the DSP's website.
A call to action
Although cigarette use has slowed since 2009, smoking is still the leading cause of avoidable premature death, chronic diseases, and increased poverty of the most disadvantaged groups. In 2012 in Montréal, about 1 in 5 people aged 15 and over smoked cigarettes, almost 1 in 5 deaths was due to smoking, and a smoker's life expectancy was 10 years shorter, on average.
By signing on to these 41 commitments, each partner in the Montréal sans tabac network has resolved to take action.
SOURCE: Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal
For further information: Source : Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, Relations medias 514-286-5709, www.agence.santemontreal.qc.ca, www.facebook.com/santemontreal, twitter.com/santemontreal, www.youtube.com/Agencedemontreal