Role of Governments

Scientific evidence continues to link direct tobacco use to debilitating diseases and premature death. Moreover, evidence linking second-hand smoke to death and disease has become irrefutable. We simply cannot afford to ignore the burdens that the use of tobacco places on individuals and on our healthcare systems.

Since health care is a shared jurisdiction in Canada, federal, provincial and territorial governments have a common interest in reducing, perhaps even eliminating, tobacco use in Canada. It is estimated that Canada spends over $3.5 billion in providing direct medical care, including hospital, physician and drug costs, to the more than 45,000 Canadians who die each year from tobacco use. When non-medical costs such as worker absenteeism, residential fires and lost future income caused by premature death are factored in, the total annual economic burden to Canadian society from tobacco use rises to at least $15 billion.

Adopting healthy public policies is critical to maintaining and improving the health of all Canadians. A strong relationship between federal, provincial and territorial governments ensures tobacco control takes place on a national scale.

This section provides an overview of who does what.

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