Canadian Cancer Society applauds Ontario government efforts to snub out illegal tobacco products and breathe new life into Smoke-Free Ontario

03 June 2011

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society has been very concerned about the serious public health threat posed by the problem of contraband tobacco. The ease and wide-spread availability of cheap and illegal cigarettes has undermined efforts to reduce tobacco use in Ontario and lead to increased rates of lung cancer and other illnesses.

“Passing Bill 186 into law is a great start, to tackle this complex issue that undermines the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy,” says Joanne Di Nardo, Public Issues Senior Manager, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “Advocacy is a big part of the Society’s mission and our volunteers and staff have worked hard to get cheap and illegal cigarettes off our streets. For many years, we have voiced our concerns to government officials calling for legislation addressing contraband tobacco and ensuring that Ontario smokers have access to all the necessary smoking cessation help available.”

Contraband cigarettes can be purchased for as little as $5 to $15 for a bag of 200 cigarettes, which is approximately one-fifth, the price of a regular carton of cigarettes. Price is one of the most effective ways to encourage smokers to quit or cutback and prevent youth from starting to smoke. In Canada, it is estimated that smoking is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths and is related to more than 85% of lung cancer cases.

In addition to being leaders in advocating for healthy public policies, the Canadian Cancer Society fights cancer by doing everything we can to prevent cancer, save lives and support people living with cancer. To fight lung and other cancers, the Society’s free Smokers’ Helpline service (1 877 513-5333 and smokershelpline.ca) offers proven tips and tools to help people quit successfully.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers 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:

Camille Beaubien

Senior Manager, Communications

Phone: 416-323-7181