Minister Jane Philpott provides keynote address at the National Forum on the Future of Tobacco Control in Canada

News Release

Forum brings together stakeholders to set the groundwork for achieving aggressive target to drive down tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035

March 1, 2017                         Ottawa, ON                 Health Canada

Although smoking rates are at a historic low in Canada, tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death, killing half of all long-term smokers. Every 14 minutes, a Canadian dies from a smoking-related illness; that's 37,000 Canadians per year.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, provided the keynote address at the National Forum on the Future of Tobacco Control in Canada, which is being held February 28 to March 2, 2017 in Ottawa. The current Federal Tobacco Control Strategy is set to expire in March 2018, and this forum brings together a diverse group of partners and stakeholders to map out a bold new federal approach driven by an aggressive but achievable target: to reduce tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035.

This forum presents a unique opportunity for a diverse group of partners and stakeholders to come together to share ideas on how to reduce tobacco consumption rates in Canada. Discussions among academics, health professionals, law enforcement officials, youth and Indigenous communities, as well as representatives of federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government will help to inspire a bold and innovative plan for tobacco control in Canada.

Topics for discussion at the forum include:

  • protecting youth
  • building capacity to support healthier living    
  • working with Indigenous peoples  
  • helping Canadians who use tobacco
  • addressing tobacco use and health and social inequities
  • reducing tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035 and reaching other targets

The Government of Canada recently launched a consultation process on the future of tobacco control, and all Canadians are invited to share their ideas by visiting the consultation paper before April 13, 2017.

The Government of Canada is committed to charting a bold new course in tobacco control that contributes to the overall vision for a healthy Canada—one where Canadians have the tools and resources they need to make healthier choices, lead healthier lives and build a healthier society.

Quick Facts

  • Canada has made great strides in tobacco control, with the overall smoking rate dropping from 22% in 2001 down to 13% in 2015.
  • Despite declines in tobacco use in recent decades, there are 3.9 million Canadian smokers. In 2015, approximately 115,000 Canadians began smoking daily, most of whom started before the age of 18.
  • To reduce the appeal of tobacco to youth, the Government of Canada introduced a proposal to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars sold on the Canadian market.
  • To address the e-cigarette market, the Government of Canada recently introduced important legislation to protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use while allowing adult smokers to access vaping products as less harmful alternatives to tobacco.
  • Steps have been taken to prepare for the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products, including consultations on measures to reduce the visual appeal of packages.


“Today’s forum on the future of tobacco control presents a unique and exciting opportunity to connect with a diverse group of stakeholders on how to achieve our aggressive target, which is to reduce tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035. Our country has a history of innovation in tobacco control, offering Canadians tools to quit smoking, and more importantly, to avoid starting smoking at all. Together we will work to see fewer Canadians using tobacco in the years to come.”
Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“Tobacco use is one of the main risk factors for a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, lung and cardiovascular diseases. It is also the leading cause of premature death in Canada. One of the best ways we can protect public health is to dramatically reduce tobacco use. While we’ve made great strides in Canada to do that, we can — and need to — do more. By working together, we can help Canadians lead healthier lives.”
Dr. Theresa Tam
Canada’s Interim Chief Public Health Officer

Associated Links

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Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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