QUEBEC CITY, Sept. 3, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division appeared today before the Committee on Health and Social Services on the last day of the hearings on Bill 44, An Act to bolster tobacco control. "Currently, more deaths are due to cancer than anything else. When we know that a third of cancer deaths are caused by tobacco, better legislative measures can potentially save thousands of lives per year. That's a lot! The Tobacco Act is the cornerstone of the fight against tobacco," explains Mélanie Champagne, Director of Public Issues, CCS – Quebec Division.
Each week in Quebec, some 250 youth fall prey to the tobacco trap. "As smokers from my generation die of cancer, heart disease or emphysema, the tobacco industry is targeting our children and teenagers to renew its client base by using attractive packaging as well as fruit and candy flavours," says Micheline Bélanger, a former smoker and lung cancer survivor.
The CCS wants the National Assembly to adopt a strong law at the earliest possible opportunity to ban flavours including menthol, regulate e-cigarettes and increase smoke-free places. The CCS lays particular emphasis on the importance of including a measure to address the packaging of tobacco products.
"When testifying at committee hearings, the industry and its allies did everything they could to weaken the bill, even going as far as presenting false statements. No one should be fooled. We must make every effort to put a stop to this industrial onslaught. There's no reason to give in to the arguments of an industry whose products kill half of its regular users," says Robert Cunningham, the CCS's senior policy analyst.
Quebec is projected to see a 35% increase in the number of cancer deaths over the next 15 years. Already, smoking causes 28 premature deaths in Quebec each day. "We must end this vicious cycle. If nothing is done, it's going to go from bad to worse. Legislators have the power to make a difference. The CCS expects bold and innovative action so that lung cancer will no longer be the deadliest killer," says Ms Champagne.
Every day, the Canadian Cancer Society works to save more lives. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support people touched by the disease. For more than 75 years now, our goal has remained unchanged: do more so that fewer Canadians are diagnosed with cancer and more survive. Let's save more lives: visit cancer.ca or call our Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.
SOURCE Canadian Cancer Society, Quebec Division
For further information: Marie-Anne Laramée, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society - Quebec Division, [email protected], 514 255-5151 ext. 2413