Canadian Cancer Society challenges British Columbians to reduce smoking rate from double to single digits in five years

VANCOUVER, June 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Today the Canadian Cancer Society BC & Yukon called on all British Columbians to bring the current smoking rate down from 14 to 9 per cent by 2018 in order to reduce tobacco-related deaths. While BC continues to lead the country with its low tobacco use rates, reduction of rates has plateaued and tobacco use continues to be the leading cause of preventable deaths and cancer deaths in BC and Canada.

The move comes days away from the 50th anniversary of Canada's landmark declaration that smoking causes lung cancer. This Monday, June 17 marks 50 years since Canada's Minister of National Health and Welfare, Judy LaMarsh, stated in the House of Commons that "smoking is a contributory cause of lung cancer…." LaMarsh's statement came seven months before the much more well-known US Surgeon General's report stating that smoking causes lung cancer.

With a new BC government now in place, the Society is advocating that it take a firmer stance on tobacco control in its new term. To help bring the provincial smoking rate down to nine per cent, the Society is calling for:

  • An increase in tobacco product taxes from the October 1 planned $44.60 to $50 per carton (200 cigarettes)

  • Regulations that would make outdoor patios of bars and restaurants as well as beaches, parks and playgrounds smoke-free

  • A reduction in the number of places, including pharmacies, where tobacco is sold, making it less convenient to purchase tobacco products

  • A ban on all flavoured tobacco products not covered by federal legislation including many types of little cigars, water pipe tobacco, and smokeless tobacco, as well as menthol cigarettes, all of which have a broader appeal to a younger demographic

  • Sustained, well-funded government prevention and cessation programs to prevent people from starting to smoke and support them when they wish to quit

"It is astounding that tobacco is the only legal product that kills one out of every two people when used as intended," says Barbara Kaminsky, CEO, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. "There's so much more to be done and we all need to work together to bring about the necessary action that LaMarsh implied with her brave statement 50 years ago."

As leaders in the tobacco crusade, the Society is calling on government and partners to come together to reduce the 14 per cent rate that has been our plateau since 2007. The Canadian Cancer Society has been a leader in advocating for tobacco control measures and intends to sustain this effort until more change occurs.

For 75 years the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333;TTY,1-866-786-3934.

SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

For further information:

Sheila Dong
Manager, Media Relations
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon

Gina Ungaro
Coordinator, Media Relations and Marketing
Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon
604-675-7335 / 604-313-8097

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Canadian Cancer Society (BC and Yukon Division)

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