Ottawa, ON – An estimated 87,000 Canadians will become daily smokers this year, many of them youth, putting them and others at risk of developing a variety of diseases and illnesses. That is why the Government of Canada is continuing to take action to lower smoking rates and shift public attitudes about tobacco.
Since 2001, actions taken under the Government of Canada’s Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (Strategy) have helped to lay the foundation for continued success in tobacco control. To build on this success, today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, confirmed that the Government of Canada is moving forward on an extension of the Strategy, as well as the introduction of new tobacco legislation to address vaping products in Canada.
Originally introduced in 2001 and renewed in 2012, the Strategy is a comprehensive and integrated tobacco control program based on international best practices, through which the Government of Canada has helped Canadians reduce their use of tobacco. The one-year extension of the current Strategy will allow sufficient time to develop a new and effective long-term plan. As part of these discussions, Minister Philpott will host a national forum in early 2017, to discuss the future of tobacco control and hear from a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians, including First Nations and Inuit Canadians.
At the same time, to address the growing phenomenon of e-cigarettes and vaping, the Government will introduce amendments to the Tobacco Act to create a new legislative framework for regulating these products. These changes, to be introduced in the fall, will balance the need to protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use while allowing adult smokers to legally access vaping products for smoking cessation or as a potentially less harmful alternative to tobacco.
Canada has historically been at the forefront of tobacco control – including being the first country to introduce graphic warning labels to inform Canadians of the risks of smoking, and a pioneer in the restriction of tobacco advertising and flavouring to reduce the appeal of tobacco products, particularly for youth. Currently, federal work continues in this area with the proposed introduction of a ban on menthol cigarettes, and a commitment to introduce plain and standardized packaging requirements on all tobacco products.
Health Canada will be working closely with stakeholders, Indigenous partners, provinces and territories as we move forward. Together, we will continue to build upon the great strides we’ve made thus far and help Canadians lead healthier, tobacco-free lives.
- Over the 14 years that the federal government has been surveying Canadians on smoking prevalence, smoking rates have decreased from a high of 25% in 1999 to 15% in 2013.
- Despite our efforts, each year 87,000 Canadians become daily smokers. There are still over 5 million tobacco users in Canada, including 4.2 million current smokers.
- The 2013 Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS) found that 9% of Canadians reported having ever tried an e-cigarette. Among youth and young adults, 20% reported having ever tried an e-cigarette.
“Smoking tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada, affecting the well-being of all Canadians, including youth. The Government of Canada is continuing to explore new and better ways to address smoking in Canada, and its impact on the health of Canadians. I am proud of the progress we’ve made so far, and I look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to ensure Canada remains a leader in tobacco control.”
Jane Philpott, Minister of Health