We applaud Ontario’s tobacco tax increase and investment in access to cancer care and treatment

27 April 2017

TORONTO -

We applaud the Ontario government for increasing tobacco taxes in today’s budget. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada, killing some 13,000 Ontarians every year. Smoking causes 30% of all cancers and 85% of lung cancers.

In today’s budget, tobacco taxes will go up by $10 a carton of cigarettes in  phases, beginning with an immediate $2 increase at midnight tonight, and $4 in each of 2018 and 2019.

“Higher tobacco taxes are a proven and effective measure to reduce smoking, especially among young people who are more price sensitive,” says Rowena Pinto, vice-president public issues and strategic initiatives, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario. “This measure will reduce cancer incidence and save lives. We also applaud the continued commitment to support smoking cessation programs to help drive Ontario towards the lowest smoking rates in Canada.”

Today’s substantial investment in cancer care and screening programs is welcome news. These measures will help support cancer patients and their families, lead to better treatment outcomes and prevent cancer. In particular we are pleased with:

  • OHIP+: Children and youth pharmacare – providing free prescription medications to all children and youth under age 25 will greatly improve access for children with cancer. This is a significant step in addressing the issue of access to take-home cancer medications.
  • Modernizing cancer screening
    • Colorectal cancer screening will move from the existing fecal occult blood test (FOBT) to the fecal immunochemical test (FIT)
    • Cervical cancer screening will move from the existing Pap test to the human papillomavirus (HPV) test for women aged 30 to 69
    • Lung cancer screening: launch high-risk screening at 3 pilot sites (the Ottawa Hospital, Health Sciences North and Lakeridge Health).
  • Investing an additional $32 million to continue to build capacity to provide stem cell transplant treatment for complex blood cancers resulting in fewer patients needing to travel abroad for treatment.

About the Canadian Cancer Society’s Smokers' Helpline

Our Smokers’ Helpline is a free, confidential service that connects smokers who want quit with a trained Quit Coach who can answer questions, help develop a personal quit plan or refer smokers to programs and services in their community. Smokers’ Helpline also offers an online support group to share experiences. Those interested in learning more can call 1 877-513-5333 or text iQuit to 123456.



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:

Susan Fekete

Communications Manager

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 613-565-2522 ext 4985