Alberta passes one of the strongest tobacco control laws in Canada

    EDMONTON, Nov. 14 /CNW/ - Today the Legislative Assembly voted
overwhelmingly in favour of Bill 45-the Tobacco Reduction Act. The bill
represents one of the strongest tobacco control laws in Canada. Only three
other provinces-Quebec, Ontario and Nova Scotia-have passed similar
legislation in recent years.
    The Tobacco Reduction Act will stop tobacco companies from targeting
youth in retail stores, will protect non-smokers from second-hand smoke in
almost all workplaces, and it will require pharmacies to honour their code of
ethics by ending tobacco sales in drugstores. A ban on tobacco sales will also
apply to all healthcare facilities and post-secondary institutions in Alberta.
    Beginning on January 1, Albertans can expect to see almost all workplaces
and public establishments become completely smoke-free. The bans on tobacco
displays and tobacco sales are expected to take effect later next year.
    "The passage of the Tobacco Reduction Act says that the provincial
government is serious about the health of Albertans," said Angeline Webb,
Cancer Control Analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.
"We commend health minister Dave Hancock for providing the required leadership
on Bill 45 and we applaud Premier Ed Stelmach for making disease prevention a
government mandate. This legislation represents one of the most significant
measures the government could take to enhance the quality of life of
    "This legislation will improve indoor air quality by making almost all
workplaces and public establishments completely smoke-free," said Tony Hudson,
President of the Lung Association of Alberta. "We predict that the Tobacco
Reduction Act will encourage thousands of Albertans to quit smoking and will
prevent thousands more young people from starting. The Act is also expected to
reduce the burden on Alberta's healthcare system resulting from illnesses
caused by tobacco use. "
    "Alberta's youth will be the greatest beneficiaries of the Tobacco
Reduction Act," said Diana Krescy, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of
Alberta, NWT and Nunavut. "This legislation will create a healthy legacy for
future generations by protecting youth from predatory marketing strategies and
by establishing a strong policy framework that can be further enhanced".
    The coalition also predicts that the Alberta economy will benefit from
the new health legislation since tobacco places a $1.3 billion annual burden
on employers. All scientifically sound studies show that smoke-free workplace
laws have no long-term negative economic impacts on bars, restaurants, hotels
or gaming establishments.
    Tobacco use kills an estimated 3,000 Albertans each year and is
responsible for 30 percent of cancer deaths, one-third of heart disease deaths
and over 80 percent of lung disease mortality.

    The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of 14 prominent
Alberta organizations which support effective measures to reduce and prevent
tobacco use.

For further information:

For further information: Les Hagen, Action on Smoking & Health, (780)
919-5546; Angeline Webb, Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division, (403)
968-8614; Tony Hudson, Lung Association of Alberta/NWT, (780) 488-6995;
Patricia Hannah, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT and Nunavut,
(403) 880-3553

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Canadian Cancer Society (Alberta/NWT Division)

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