Is it time to ban the product?
It's National Non Smoking Week and a group of Canadian health agencies are calling on more government action on tobacco control in Canada. I can't believe there are Canadians who don't understand the health risks. I also can't believe a product that kills this many Canadians hasn't been banned. Is it because the government is addicted to the revenue in taxes they take in?
According to Physicians For A Smoke-Free Canada our governments get around $4 billion in tobacco taxes. Governments get about $600 per smoker in tobacco tax revenues each year... including $190 million in taxes from kids too young to smoke! Since 1994, the federal government has collected approximately $65 million each year in a special ‘health surtax’ on tobacco industry profits.
Diseases caused by smoking cost the health system about $2.6 billion, indirect economic costs (such as disability pensions) cost a further $6.8 billion. Read more TOBACCO IN CANADA
Rob Cunningham, senior policy advisor with the Canadian Cancer Society says, "Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, and we need sustained federal government action in response. Other countries are looking at new ways to protect their citizens from tobacco-related disease."
Robert Walsh, Executive Director of the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control says, "The government previously set a goal to reduce the number of people who smoke to 1 in 8 Canadians," "We believe that achieving this goal of 12% smoking prevalence should be a government priority, and that there are effective measures that this government can put in place that will make this happen.
Bobbe Wood, President of the Heart and Stroke Foundation says, "Meeting the government's goal for smoking rates will help avert thousands of preventable deaths from heart disease, cancer and lung disease."
Health Canada reports that tobacco use is responsible for 37,000 deaths annually.
Lorraine Fry, Executive Director of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association says, "Australia is looking at new options to address tobacco use, and Canada should do so too,"
Cynthia Callard, Executive Director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada says, "The renewed health warnings should be applied to all tobacco products, and not only cigarettes and some small cigars as required by the recent regulations.
Australia has just launched a new strategy with the 2018 goal of reducing daily smoking rates to 10% in the general population and reducing aboriginal smoking rates by half. Australia's work on tax levels, plain packaging, more complete bans on promotion, mass media campaigns and support for quitting are being praised.
These health organizations urge Health Canada to take steps towards the implementation of plain packaging, following Australia's lead. The new picture health warnings required as of June 2012 are a very positive measure, but additional measures are needed to drive smoking rates down as fast as possible. Comparison of tobacco control measures in Canada and Australia
Member organizations of the Canadian Coalition for Tobacco Control are Action on Smoking and Health, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, the Canadian Dental Association, the Canadian Medical Association, the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac, the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco and Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, are offering their support to Minister Leona Aglukkaq in implementing the steps necessary to reduce smoking rates to the 12% prevalence goal adopted by the Harper government in 2007.
None of these agencies nor the government want to ban the product. What do you think?