Message from the Minister of Health - National Non-Smoking Week, January 21-27, 2018
Today we are marking National Non-Smoking Week. As Minister of Health, I encourage all Canadians who smoke to take this opportunity to become smoke-free. I invite you to consider joining thousands of others as they take their first steps to becoming non-smokers.
While quitting smoking may be difficult, you don’t have to do it alone. Services and supports are available to help you quit smoking. Trained specialists with the pan-Canadian toll-free quit line can help you develop a quit-smoking plan, answer questions and provide referrals to programs and services in your community, including information on how to access quit-smoking medications that can help with the potential withdrawal symptoms.
You can reach these quit-smoking specialists at 1-866-366-3667 or online, or you can talk to your physician. I also encourage Canadians to check out Break It Off – a specific campaign aimed at young adults to help them quit smoking and stay smoke-free.
We are continuing to take action to further reduce smoking.
We know tobacco use negatively affects the health of Canadians. It is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada; each year, 45,000 Canadian die from a smoking-related illness. We also know the vast majority of smokers began smoking in their adolescence or young adulthood. In Canada, 82% of current adult daily smokers had smoked their first cigarette by the age of 18. In 2015 alone, 115,000 Canadians began smoking cigarettes daily.
This is why we are continuing to take action to further reduce smoking rates and protect youth from nicotine addiction and inducements to tobacco use through a number of initiatives, such as banning menthol flavouring in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars, and the measures proposed in Bill S-5. This includes moving forward on implementing plain and standardized packaging for tobacco products, limiting access to vaping products to those over 18 years of age, and restricting the marketing of flavours in vaping products that appeal to youth, such as candy and soft drinks.
We are continuing our work to modernize the current Federal Tobacco Control Strategy while considering the feedback we received through the National Forum on the Future of Tobacco Control and public consultations. I look forward to continuing our work with the provinces, territories, Indigenous peoples and all Canadians to chart a new course for tobacco control as we set the groundwork to drive down tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035.
Let’s work together to create a smoke-free Canada.
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
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