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Better, faster, stronger: Report calls for stronger tobacco control measures

May 31, 2019

Better, faster, stronger: Report calls for stronger tobacco control measures

OTTAWA, May 31, 2019 /CNW/ - Canada is failing its youth when it comes to tobacco control, according to a 2019 Report, released by the Tobacco Endgame Cabinet. The Cabinet, comprising representatives of health charities, researchers, physicians and other experts, who are dedicated to reducing tobacco use, published the report that shows the inadequacy of current measures in ending tobacco use.  

Released in conjunction with World No Tobacco Day, the report calls for governments of all levels across the country to take action to reach the tobacco endgame goal of lowering the prevalence of tobacco use to "less than 5% by 2035." Current smoking rate in Canada is 16% (2017).

Current tobacco control measures are inadequate and will not lead to this reduction in tobacco use. The report outlines progress in respect to specific policies and measures on provincial as well as federal levels, and calls for immediate strategic, coordinated action to address the gaps.

The policies addressed in the report include investment in tobacco control, tobacco taxation, vaping regulations as well as cessation services, among others. While the report does highlight some key successes, such as the finalization of plain and standardized tobacco packaging regulations, the conclusion is that Canada is failing to implement necessary measures to meet the goal.

Specifically, the report provides an overview and recommendations in the following areas:

  • Tobacco taxation – higher tobacco taxes to reduce use. The revenue from tobacco taxes should in part be re-invested into tobacco control programs.
  • Investment in tobacco control – more investment and prioritization of tobacco control at all levels of government.
  • Tobacco cessation efforts – a comprehensive and effective cessation strategy to help all Canadians.
  • Tobacco retail reform – making tobacco products less readily available through stronger retail reform.
  • Tobacco control measures – stronger product regulation measures to complement those currently in place.
  • Smoke-free housing, campuses and hospital grounds – smoke-free places are critical to eliminate the effects of second-hand smoke and to discourage smoking.
  • E-cigarettes – stronger measures to curb dramatically increasing rates of youth vaping.

Tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Canada, killing 45,000 Canadians annually. The need to act is urgent and it will require strong strategies and coordinated action and accountability measures from all levels of government.

The complete report is available at http://www.lung.ca/tobacco-endgame.

Quotes:

Terry Dean 
President and CEO
The Canadian Lung Association

"We need all levels of government to light a fire under the policies and tobacco measures and really lead an effective change. Less than 5% by '35 is not just a goal, a number or a tagline. It represents number of Canadians who can lead healthier, longer lives."

Rob Cunningham
Senior Policy Analyst 
Canadian Cancer Society

"The tobacco industry has behaved hypocritically by increasing its own net-of-tax prices substantially in recent years while at the same time objecting to government tobacco tax increases.  We need strong tobacco tax increases as a key measure to reduce tobacco use, especially among youth."

Dr. Andrew Pipe
Chief of Division of Prevention and Rehabilitation
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

"Tobacco is a complicated issue that requires action at all levels. We must prevent usage through regulatory measures and commit to a stronger tobacco control strategy. However, we mustn't forget those Canadians whose lives are already at stake because of an existing nicotine addiction. We have to commit to creating a cessation strategy that will help them re-gain quality of life."

Yves Savoie
CEO
Heart & Stroke

"We need to change regulatory measures, but we also need to strengthen the support for people in Canada whose health is at risk. We must develop strategic, effective and comprehensive cessation strategies to help those who are struggling with this addiction."

Neil E. Collishaw
Research Director
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

"No single measure will be enough to achieve our goal of less than 5% by 2035. We need coordinated efforts, strong measures and immediate action. We need all levels of government to work together to create a tobacco control strategy worthy of Canada as a global leader."

"Despite the regulatory measures and education efforts in place, the tobacco industry continues to thrive. This is simply unacceptable."

Robert Schwartz, PhD
Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

"Nicotine inhalation is once again re-popularized among youth. The popularity of vaping products, strengthened by creative marketing and inadequate regulatory measures, has introduced nicotine to a new generation of Canadian youth. For the first time in several decades, there is an increase in tobacco use among youth. Our limited action is failing our youth. We need to act now to eliminate this dangerous trend from our schools and stop this epidemic of youth vaping."

Dr. Gigi Osler 
President 
Canadian Medical Association

"We know the devastating effects of smoking and we need to focus our efforts on reducing smoking prevalence in Canada."

"There is also an urgent need to tackle the rise in vaping and e-cigarette use among youth and address the long-term health impact."

SOURCE Canadian Lung Association

For further information: Media Inquiries: Teresa Roncon, Senior Manager, Communications, Heart & Stroke, 416-937-5307, teresa.roncon@heartandstroke.ca; Marketa Stastna, Manager, Marketing and Communications, The Canadian Lung Association, 613-569-6411, ext.252, mstastna@lung.ca

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