Health Canada

Health Canada

November 13, 2013 11:30 ET

Parliamentary Secretary Eve Adams Meets with Students to Discuss Anti-Smoking Initiatives

OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 13, 2013) - Eve Adams, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health, and Member of Parliament for Mississauga - Brampton South, in collaboration with the Canadian Cancer Society and Heart and Stroke Foundation met with students today to discuss tobacco use and how young Canadians can avoid the dangers of smoking.

"Canada is a world leader in the fight against tobacco. Smoking rates are at an all-time low, but it is critical that we continue to encourage people to avoid tobacco," Parliamentary Secretary Adams told students at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville, Ontario. "It is especially important that young people be encouraged to avoid smoking. Smoking cessation is the single best thing a person can do for their health," Adams said.

According to the 2012 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS), the prevalence of tobacco use by Canadian youth aged 15 to 17 years is seven per cent, the lowest rate ever recorded for this age group.

The Government of Canada is taking concrete action to reduce smoking rates in Canada. To make tobacco less appealing to youth, in 2009 Canada became the first country in the world to ban the use of certain additives - including flavours like chocolate and bubble gum - in cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps (cigar rolling paper) as well as placing further restrictions on advertising of tobacco products in publications that could be seen by youth. In 2011, the Government made larger health warnings on cigarette and little cigar packages a requirement across the country. And earlier this month, the Government introduced legislation to create mandatory penalties of imprisonment for individuals repeatedly convicted of cross-border trafficking and smuggling of contraband tobacco.

"The health of Canadians is a priority for our Government and we will continue to take measures in order to further reduce smoking rates - especially among Canadian kids," Parliamentary Secretary Adams said.

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Fact Sheet

Government of Canada Actions to Combat Youth Smoking

Canada is a world leader in the fight against tobacco, and smoking rates, including amongst youth aged 15 to 17, are at an all-time low.

In 2009, when Parliament passed the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, which amended the Tobacco Act, Canada became the first country in the world to ban the use of certain additives - including flavours like chocolate and bubble gum - in cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps (cigar rolling paper) that were making these tobacco products more appealing to youth.

These changes to the Tobacco Act also made it harder for industry to entice young people to use tobacco products, by further restricting ads for tobacco products in publications that may be viewed by children and youth.

In 2011, the Government adopted regulations requiring updated and larger health warning labels on cigarette and little cigar packages across the country, with the aim to increase awareness of the health hazards associated with tobacco use.

These graphic health warnings cover 75 percent of packages, and include a pan-Canadian Quitline number and a web address. As well, the regulations require health information messages that are highlighted with colour and easy-to-understand toxic emissions statements.

To help youth to quit smoking, Health Canada developed the Quit4Life youth smoking cessation program. The Quit4Life program resources consist of a booklet and a facilitator's guide. The booklet can be used by youth to guide them through the process of quitting smoking, at their own pace. More information about the Quit4Life program can be found on the Health Canada website.

The most recent Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey results from 2012 show that the prevalence of tobacco use by Canadian youth aged 15 to 17 years is at only seven per cent, the lowest rate ever recorded for this age group. And, the current smoking rate among Canadians (aged 15 years and older) is also at an all-time low of 16 per cent, which is a significant decrease from 22 per cent in 2001, when the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy was launched.

The combined efforts of all levels of government, healthcare providers and public health stakeholders, including non-governmental organizations working in tobacco control, have played a role in reducing smoking prevalence to these record-low levels.

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