Ottawa, ON – It is National Non-Smoking Week and The Lung Association and its partners are urging the federal government to make a strong, new tobacco control strategy a reality. The current Federal Tobacco Control Strategy expires in March.
Tobacco Endgame is a set of recommendations that would create a strong, effective federal tobacco control strategy, worthy of 21st century knowledge, research and resources. The overarching goal is to reduce tobacco use to less than 5 per cent by 2035. Currently, 17 per cent of Canadians smoke, representing 5.2 million Canadians. While prevalence has declined in recent years rates have remained stagnant in certain vulnerable populations highlighting the need for a more focused approach. In some parts of Canada almost two-thirds of residents smoke.
“The new federal tobacco control strategy needs to recognize this and must move beyond current approaches. It must implement stricter measures for the tobacco industry, while offering greater support to those whose health – and ultimately – whose lives are negatively impacted by smoking,” says Terry Dean, president and CEO, The Lung Association – National.
“We’re approaching an important milestone and the government should focus on creating a robust renewal strategy. We need strong federal leadership coupled with innovative measures to achieve the 5 per cent target. Without bold mechanisms more than 45,000 Canadians will continue to die annually from tobacco related deaths. This is unacceptable.” says Mary Lewis, Chief Mission and Research Officer, Heart & Stroke.
Tobacco use remains the number one cause of premature death and disability in Canada. “The tobacco industry continues to prey upon Canadians, particularly youth and women, and costs our economy billions of dollars per year.” adds Lewis. There needs to be more investment and innovation in areas of cessation support, retail reform, smoke-free legislation, price increases, advertising restrictions and public education. Jurisdictions around the world are thinking boldly and raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 and making it more difficult for the tobacco industry to remain profitable through cost recovery measures.
“We need all levels of government to work together and make Canada a better place to breathe in. Our collective priority needs to be the health of Canadians,” Dean adds. “The reality is that tobacco products kill half of long-term users when they are used as intended. And current regulatory and financial policies do not reflect that level of harm. The tobacco industry continues to thrive in the current climate unless we act now.”
Tobacco Endgame Cabinet comprises members of leading health charities and educational institutions, including The Lung Association, Canadian Cancer Society and Heart & Stroke, among many others. The comprehensive set of recommendations created by the Tobacco Endgame Cabinet speaks to health, education, prevention, cessation and financial recommendations.
For details on the recommendations, visit lung.ca.
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Canadian Lung Association
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Heart & Stroke
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