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Health Concerns

Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS)

The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) is a comprehensive, integrated, and sustained approach towards reducing tobacco-related disease and death in Canada. Built on the reinforcing components of prevention, protection, cessation (quitting smoking) and product regulation, the FTCS represents the most ambitious effort Canada has ever undertaken to fight the tobacco epidemic.

Progress towards the objectives has been substantial. In fact, most of the Strategy's 10-year objectives set in 2001 have already been met. As a result, Health Canada has set a new prevalence goal and objectives for the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2011).

FTCS 2007-11 Goal

  • Reduce overall smoking prevalence from 19% (2006) to 12% by 2011.

FTCS 2007-11 Objectives

  • Reduce the prevalence of Canadian youth (15-17) who smoke from 15% - 9%;
  • Increase the number of adult Canadians who quit smoking by 1.5 million;
  • Reduce the prevalence of Canadians exposed daily to second-hand smoke from 28% to 20%;
  • Examine the next generation of tobacco control policy in Canada;
  • Contribute to the global implementation of the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control; and
  • Monitor and assess contraband tobacco activities and enhance compliance.

Highlights

  • The long-term goal of the FTCS is to reduce tobacco-attributable disease and death among Canadians.
  • Priority areas of focus include: youth, young adults, First Nations and Inuit populations, increasing the rate of smoking cessation among Canadians of all ages and reducing exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke.
  • The Tobacco Control Programme (TCP) is Health Canada's office responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada's action on tobacco control.

Canada's Progress in Tobacco Control

  • According to the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey data for 2006, fewer than five million people, representing roughly 19% of the population aged 15 years and older, were current smokers. This compares to a rate of 25% in 1999.
  • In 2006, 15% of youth aged 15-19 were smokers. This compares to a rate of 28% in 1999.
  • Second-hand smoke exposure among children at home dropped by one-half from 1999, from 1.1 million children (under 12 years of age) exposed, to approximately 380,000 by 2005.
  • Smoking attributable deaths have declined.

Achievements

  • Graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging are drawing Canadians' attention to the consequences of using tobacco products; these messages are being emulated by other countries.
  • Tobacco manufacturers are now required to report on sales data, research and promotion activities, product ingredients and toxic components.
  • Many communities, provinces and territories have adopted smoking bans in public spaces.
  • In November 2004, Canada ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which came into force February 27, 2005.
  • The 2005 "Retailers' Behaviour Towards Certain Youth Access-to-Tobacco Restrictions Survey" found that 80.8 per cent of retailers refused to sell cigarettes to youth. In 2006, this was 81.7%
  • Canada is the first country to have a national standard to reduce the fire risk of cigarettes, as set out in regulations (Cigarette Ignition Propensity regulations) that came into force on June 7, 2005.

While the achievements so far are impressive, much remains to be done. Smoking is still the most preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada, with cigarette smoking continuing to be the primary risk factor for three of the most common causes of death in Canada (lung cancer, ischemic heart disease and respiratory diseases). Every year, 37,000 Canadians die from tobacco use. Economically, smoking costs Canada more than $17 billion annually (including $4.4 billion in direct health-care costs).