Smoke gets in your eyes: Tobacco Control and the Federal Budget

    OTTAWA, March 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Tobacco. It's a touchy subject. Less than
one in five Canadians smoke cigarettes, and of these 4.6 million people, the
majority would like to quit.
    "Quitting smoking was one of the toughest things I've ever done. For
years, I flip-flopped between being adamant about the choice I was making to
smoke, and beating myself up for not being able to quit even though I knew the
harm it was doing to me" says Robert Walsh, Executive Director of the Canadian
Council for Tobacco Control. "That's the paradox of addiction."
    The federal government can play a significant role in helping Canadians
deal with this addiction. With just a fraction of the $4B they receive
annually in tobacco taxes, they could create smoke-free environments that
protect workers, families, and children from secondhand smoke. They can also
do more to help those who want to quit smoking explore the variety of
effective methods to quit, and they can provide more support to ensure that
the next generation of Canadians does not start smoking.
    Unfortunately, with no mention of tobacco control, Monday's federal
budget missed an important opportunity. It missed the opportunity to address
contraband cigarettes, close taxation loopholes on loose tobacco, and support
Canadians in addressing this important health concern. The Canadian Council
for Tobacco Control hopes that the government will recognize their
responsibility to protect the health of all Canadians: those who smoke, and
those who do not.
    Funding is needed to provide policy and programmatic support for
aboriginal communities, youth, and a host of others who experience smoking
rates well above the Canadian average. As well, whole-population measures are
still needed to ensure that we reduce the 37,000 deaths that occur every year
from the use of commercial tobacco products.
    So, dear Minister Flaherty, we know it's a great old song, but we hope
you'll allow Canadians to enjoy it on their iPods instead of suffering from it
in their workplaces and communities.

For further information:

For further information: Robert Walsh, (613) 567-3050 ext. 107,

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Canadian Council for Tobacco Control (CCTC)

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