CCS applauds strengthened Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, higher tobacco taxes in federal budget

27 February 2018

Ottawa -

The strengthening of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy with an ongoing investment of $18 million per year announced in today’s federal budget was applauded by the Canadian Cancer Society.

The CCS also applauded the small tobacco tax increase of $1.00 per carton of 200 cigarettes together with an improved inflationary adjustment.

“We strongly support the increased investment in the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy to help achieve the federal government objective of decreasing the prevalence of tobacco use to 5% by 2035,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “We also support the increase in tobacco taxes. Higher tobacco taxes are the single most effective strategy to reduce smoking, especially among youth.”

“While progress has been made in reducing smoking, enormous work remains to be done to combat the tobacco epidemic,” adds Cunningham. “There are still more than 5 million Canadians who use tobacco, and an unacceptable number of teenagers who begin smoking each year. The measures in the budget will help to make further progress to reduce tobacco use.”

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada, killing more than 45,000 Canadians annually. Tobacco is responsible for $6.5 billion in annual health care costs. The existing Federal Tobacco Control Strategy expires March 31, 2018. The budget includes ongoing funding increases for the Strategy, including $11 million for Health Canada, $3 million for the Public Health Agency of Canada, $3 million for Public Safety and $2 million for the RCMP.

The budget also included an improvement to inflation indexation for tobacco taxes, with indexation to occur annually instead of every five years. Of the $2.29 tobacco tax increase to take effect at midnight of budget day, $1.29 represents an inflation adjustment since the last federal tobacco tax increase that occurred February 12, 2014. An inflation adjustment had already been scheduled to occur on December 1, 2019 with the amount of the increase to have been approximately $2.10 based on inflation rates.

CCS also welcomes the national pharmacare announcement in the budget. “A national pharmacare initiative has the potential to provide much needed access to medications for cancer patients Canada-wide,” says Kelly Masotti, Director Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. “We look forward to working with federal, provincial and territorial governments on this important issue.”

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Rob Cunningham

Senior Policy Analyst

Canadian Cancer Society

National office

Phone: (613) 565-2522 ext 4981