Statement from the Ministers of Health and Mental Health & Addictions on Lung Cancer Awareness Month


November 22, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada. It plays a role in causing more than 40 diseases and other serious health outcomes, with smoking being the leading cause of lung cancer.

Close to 30,000 Canadians every year are diagnosed with lung cancer, a devastating, and often preventable disease. The more, and the longer you smoke, the greater your chance of developing this disease, with nearly 80% of lung cancer cases attributable to smoking cigarettes. Exposure to second-hand smoke also increases your risk of developing lung cancer.

There is also evidence that people who smoke may be at a greater risk of developing more severe symptoms of COVID-19, as smoking negatively affects the function of the lungs. Additionally, certain underlying health conditions caused by smoking, such as chronic lung disease and lung cancer, increase the risk of more severe outcomes of COVID-19.

Canada’s Tobacco Strategy continues to demonstrate success in tobacco control, including decreasing the smoking rates in Canada to 13%. Youth rates are at their lowest level in decades. While this is a step in the right direction, there is more to be done to help those communities that are disproportionately impacted by high rates of smoking, such as Indigenous populations, LGBTQ populations, those suffering with mood or anxiety disorders, as well as people living in poverty. We are taking a comprehensive and people-centred approach to preventing the death and disease caused by smoking in our society.

The Tobacco Products Regulations (Plain and Standardized Appearance) were adopted in 2019 to protect young persons and others from using tobacco products and the consequent dependence on them, and to prevent the public from being deceived or misled with respect to the health hazards of using tobacco products.

As part of Canada’s Tobacco Strategy, we are continuing to invest in public education campaigns and developing new regulations. In May 2021, we announced $3 million to fund a national social marketing campaign to encourage people who smoke to quit. This campaign is a collaborative effort between the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Lung Association, the Canadian Public Health Association, and the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.

The Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund was relaunched in March 2021, and will continue to fund projects that address the behavioural risk factors for chronic disease and will create physical and social environments that are known to support better health among Canadians. This program supports Canadians who face health inequalities and are at greater risk of developing chronic diseases, specifically young males, Indigenous, LGBTQ+ and low income communities.

As November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, it provides a helpful reminder that there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing lung cancer. Eat healthy, get more physical activity, and quit smoking.

Visit for information and resources to help you quit smoking.

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P.
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, P.C., M.P.


Marie-France Proulx
Office of Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Ani Dergalstanian
Office of Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Media Relations
Health Canada

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