HC Seeks Testimonials for Tobacco Product Warnings

OTTAWA, Dec. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - We've all seen the photos: a tongue with cancerous white spots, a man with a hole in his throat, the damaged arteries of a heart, or a dying woman whose body has been ravaged by cancer caused by smoking. Since 2001, graphic photos showing the effects of smoking have been a fixture of tobacco packaging in Canada. These thought-provoking images are an important part of a tobacco control strategy that has helped reduce smoking rates in Canada from 25% in 1999 to 13% in 2015.

Five years ago, Health Canada updated the original tobacco product warnings by adding personal stories that spoke frankly about the devastating impacts of smoking. Health Canada is committed to driving down smoking rates and preventing youth from beginning to smoke. That's why the Department is looking for more individuals who would be willing to share their personal stories about how they have been affected by the negative effects of smoking, in the hopes of changing someone's mind about smoking.

Suzy McDonald, Director General of Health Canada's Tobacco Control Directorate, has a message for anyone considering sharing their story: "I know this can be hard, and that sharing your story publicly can bring up painful memories. Still, we hope that you will consider reaching out to us. Personal stories are effective and what you share could help someone take the first step towards quitting, or to never take the first puff at all."

To have the greatest impact, Health Canada is seeking stories from a wide cross-section of the Canadian population. The Department would like to hear from individuals who have personally felt the negative health effects of smoking and tobacco use, or witnessed a friend or loved one suffering from these effects, or experienced positive health benefits from quitting.

"If you could convince someone to never pick up that first cigarette just by telling a story, would you?" asks Suzy McDonald. If your answer is yes, get in touch with Health Canada by email at pregs@hc-sc.gc.ca or by phone at 613-716-3513.


SOURCE Health Canada

For further information: Health Canada, Media Relations, (613) 957-2983

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