The Lung Association

The Lung Association

October 26, 2009 17:55 ET

Canadian Lung Association and Prime Minister Harper Host Youth Roundtable

Lung Association commends Prime Minister for listening to Canada's young people about ways to combat tobacco use

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 26, 2009) - The Lung Association today hosted a roundtable meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and youth from St. Joseph High School in Barrhaven to talk about the impact of tobacco use among teenagers and young adults. The event was an opportunity for the Prime Minister to discuss with students leaders ways to move the youth anti-smoking agenda forward.

"Today's event with the Prime Minister was an excellent example of Canada's political leadership valuing the opinions of our young people," Heather Borquez, President and CEO of The Lung Association said, "We were pleased to see the Prime Minister actively engaging on this issue with students, and with The Lung Association, on ways we can continue to make progress on reducing Canada's smoking rates".

The meeting with students comes approximately 3 weeks after Bill C-32, an Act to Amend the Tobacco Control Act, was given Royal Assent. The Bill bans the use of flavours and additives in tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigarillos and blunt wraps (cigar rolling paper) and prohibits tobacco companies from advertising in newspapers and magazines.

Cigarillos and flavored tobacco and blunts come in flavors like strawberry, peach, blueberry and chocolate mint and are sold for as little as a buck a piece - a price which is obviously aimed at attracting young smokers:

- According to 2008 statistics from the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 31% of Canadian youth aged 15-19 years have tried cigarillos while 9% say that they have smoked one in the last 30 days.

- 48% of young adults aged 20-24 years have tried cigarillos while 12% have smoked cigarillos in the last 30 days.

By banning not only the flavouring of tobacco products, but also tobacco advertising, the federal government has made a giant leap forward in Canada's efforts on tobacco control -- efforts that the respiratory health community are applauding enthusiastically.

"As we approach 2012 when the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy comes up for renewal, The Lung Association believes that dialogue like this is vital if we are to build a strategy that will continue to make progress on lowering Canada's smoking rates," added Ms. Borquez. "Youth engagement is vital for the success of the strategy. So too is an expansion of access to cessation programs and medications nationwide as we mentioned in our ground-breaking report, Making Quit Happen: Canada's Challenges to Smoking Cessation".

Presently in Canada, approximately 18% of Canadians are smokers, while 15% of Canada's youth between the ages of 15 and 19 smoke.

An estimated 37,000 Canadians will die this year from smoking-related diseases and approximately 1,000 die annually from second-hand smoke. Smoking and tobacco use is the single largest preventable cause of lung disease and death in Canada.

About The Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs and advocacy on lung heath issues.

Contact Information

  • The Lung Association
    Cameron Bishop
    Director of Government Affairs and Media Relations
    613-569-6411, ext. 223