Government of Canada to support at-risk Canadians to prevent and reduce tobacco use 

News release

Reducing and preventing tobacco use can help lower lung cancer and other tobacco-related chronic diseases 

November 30, 2021 | Ottawa, ON | Public Health Agency of Canada

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada. Marginalized and underserved populations, such as people with low incomes, racialized, Indigenous, or those with a mental health diagnosis, experience even higher rates of tobacco use and greater tobacco-related health gaps.

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health, announced an investment of over $5 million in funding for three organizations to promote the prevention and cessation of tobacco use across Canada, with a focus on populations at higher risk. All three projects support Canada's Tobacco Strategy with the ultimate goal of reducing tobacco use and recognizing smoking as a risk factor for chronic disease. This investment will support:

  • The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute with $3,312,974 to support smoking reduction and cessation by providing counselling, nicotine replacement therapy and peer support for marginalized and underserved populations in community-based settings.
  • The Southwestern Public Health (SWPH) with $1,245,169 to reduce barriers to smoking cessation services for at-risk populations. Through this project, clients will work directly with community partners, such as pharmacists, social service agencies or mental health and addiction agencies, to receive smoking cessation counselling and nicotine replacement therapy.
  • Physical and Health Education Canada with $708,450 to deliver STOMP - Students Together Moving to Prevent tobacco use. Working with students in 10 provinces and territories, the project will promote informed decision making about tobacco consumption to help establish action plans to reduce and prevent tobacco use within school communities.


"By directly engaging with, empowering, and treating at-risk populations in judgement-free community-based settings, we can help people who smoke to quit and protect their health. These projects directly support Canada's Tobacco Control Strategy's to reduce the number of Canadians who die from tobacco-related diseases every year."

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

"It is important in Lung Cancer Awareness Month, that we ask all Canadians to work with us to support the concrete actions being undertaken to help at-risk populations and young people across the country to stop smoking, or discourage them from ever starting at all. Federal government investments play a key role in supporting Canadians and Indigenous Peoples by providing tools, access to services, and help in changing their tobacco behaviour. By supporting organizations and innovative solutions, we are helping Canadians to substantially reduce their risk of developing tobacco-related diseases and improve their overall health."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Minister of Health

Quick facts

  • Close to 30,000 Canadians every year are diagnosed with lung cancer, a devastating and often preventable disease.

  • Research shows that many Canadians start smoking at early age and were smoking regularly by the age of 18. Indeed, 8.6% of grade 7-9 students have tried a cigarette. The younger a person starts smoking, the more difficult it is to quit later in life.

  • Funding announced today is through the Public Health Agency of Canada's Multi-Sectoral Partnerships (MSP) program (now known as the Healthy Canadians and Communities Fund), which has invested $20 million a year since 2013 in innovative projects across the country that aim to lower Canadians' risk of chronic disease by tackling common modifiable risk factors, namely unhealthy eating, smoking, and physical inactivity.

  • These investments support Canada's Tobacco Strategy, which recognizes smoking as a key modifiable risk factor for chronic disease and aims to reduce tobacco use to 5% by the year 2035.

  • Tobacco usage plays a role in causing more than 40 diseases and other serious health outcomes.

  • Smoking remains the leading cause of lung cancer and 20 other types of cancer.

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

Zachary Caldwell
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions

Media Relations
Public Health Agency of Canada

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