Tobacco Control in Canada

Canada's public education and tobacco control efforts dates from 1962, when the report of the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons on Smoking & Health was publicized linking smoking to disease and premature death. Two years later, the 1964 US Surgeon General's report specifically linking tobacco use to lung cancer sparked even stronger public concerns about the need to address the smoking issue, not only in Canada, but worldwide.

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Since that time, Canada has had many tobacco control initiatives, including multi-year federal strategies that began in 1986. None have been as comprehensive as the current Federal Tobacco Control Strategy. The federal government is not the only government interested in tobacco control activities. Since health in Canada is a shared jurisdiction between federal, provincial and territorial governments, all levels of government are concerned with the burden placed on our healthcare systems as a result of tobacco related diseases.

In 1999, all provincial and territorial ministers of Health, agreed to a renewed National Tobacco Control Strategy, with each jurisdiction collaborating in the provision of leadership and resources in tobacco control. This collaboration is facilitated through the Tobacco Control Liaison Committee.

Moreover, tobacco control efforts are not limited to governmental action alone. Tobacco control advocates, as well as health professionals in general, have an important role to play in helping to educate the public about the health hazards associated to tobacco and holding their legislators accountable for developing public health policy.

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