January 16 - 22 is National Non-Smoking Week (NNSW) 2011
OTTAWA, Jan. 20 /CNW/ - Recently, a team of British researchers mapped
the DNA mutations in skin and lung cancer. For lung cancer, they found
almost 23,000 mutations (or one mutation for every 15 cigarettes
smoked). "This level of cellular damage is staggering. Equally shocking
is that tobacco use costs more to the Canadian health care system and
economy than it brings into provincial and national coffers in terms of
tax revenue," says Dr Jim Morris, member of the Canadian Council for
Tobacco Control (CCTC) Board of Directors.
With its devastating health effects, tobacco use remains the most
significant cause of preventable disease, disability, and premature
death in Canada, responsible for more than 37,000 deaths every year.
Tobacco use can cause or exacerbate cancers, heart and lung disease,
stroke, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. Tobacco use has been linked
to the development of gangrene and visual impairment
Held towards the end of January in order to help support the many
individuals who make a New Year's resolution to improve their life and
the life of their loved ones by choosing to quit, NNSW is also an
opportune time to ask ourselves as a society why so many people still
smoke and, equally importantly, what can we do to help?
Graphic Health Warnings
One of the easiest things for us to do today is to ensure new graphic
health warnings for cigarette packages are implemented quickly. When it
comes to health warnings, bigger is definitely better. Graphic warnings
covering 75% or more of the package have been demonstrated to be highly
effective in encouraging spontaneous quits and discouraging youth from
initiation. When weighed against how difficult it can be for someone to
quit smoking, investments in any proven strategy that prevents people
from taking up smoking or helps them stay quit, makes economic sense
for everyone but the tobacco industry.
In fact, the tobacco industry and its many front groups would have
Canadians believe that programs that address individual behaviour are
far more likely to work. This is simply not the case. Even a cursory
review of credible scientific reviews demonstrates that the most
effective tobacco control interventions are population-based and not
focussed on an individual's behaviour. The scientific consensus on this
point is simply overwhelming.
"After six years in development, the CCTC is pleased that it can finally
applaud the federal government for announcing new health warnings, we
call upon the public and all those working in the public health sector
to continue advocating for the most effective new warnings and to be
vigilant about this issue until we see the new warnings rolling off the
assembly line", said Dr Morris. The tobacco industry does not want to
see these new regulations enacted and have already begun their
offensive. The industry has released communications in the past three
weeks designed to frame public health policy in a "this or that"
paradigm. The tobacco industry would also have Canadians believe that
contraband is the overwhelming problem with tobacco and that Health
Canada should focus exclusively on this issue. Again, research has
shown that multi-pronged approaches are more effective than single
NNSW has been observed for more than 30 years and is one of the longest
running and most important events in the CCTC's ongoing public
education efforts regarding the consequences of tobacco use. Its goals
to educate Canadians about the dangers of smoking;
to prevent people who do not smoke from beginning to smoke and becoming
addicted to tobacco;
to help people quit smoking;
to promote the right of individuals to breathe air unpolluted by tobacco
to denormalize the tobacco industry, tobacco industry marketing
practices, tobacco products, and tobacco use; and
to assist in the attainment of a smoke-free society in Canada.
For more information about NNSW please visit nnsw.ca
Stanbrook, Matthew; Hébert, Paul C.
The federal government's senseless policy change on tobacco warning labels
[ressource électronique] = JAMC : Journal de l'Association médicale
182(18): 14 décembre 2010, 1939-1940. http://dx.doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.101583
Galloway, G. Ottawa met with cigarette maker months before postponing bigger warning
The Globe and Mail (Toronto), 9 décembre 2010.
Tobacco lobbying preceded label retreat
Galloway G. Federal tobacco strategy turns from scary labels to stopping contraband.
The Globe and Mail [Toronto], 28 septembre 2010.
SOURCE CANADIAN COUNCIL FOR TOBACCO CONTROL (CCTC)
For further information:
Canadian Council for Tobacco Control