Poll shows growing support for measures to reduce smoking

22 January 2018

Regina -

To mark National Non-Smoking Week, health groups are using new poll results to call on the new leader of the Saskatchewan Party and the Minister of Health to ramp up measures to reduce tobacco use in the province. The Ipsos poll found widespread public support to further restrict smoking in outdoor places, regulate the use of marijuana and e-cigarettes in public places and increase the legal age to buy tobacco.

The poll of Saskatchewan residents was commissioned by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) and The Lung Association, Saskatchewan. It, found that public support continues to grow for a number of measures, including a ban on smoking marijuana (82%) and using e-cigarettes (74%) anywhere smoking is banned.

“It’s been nearly a decade since the Saskatchewan government has updated tobacco control laws to keep up with emerging issues,” says Donna Pasiechnik, manager of tobacco control for CCS in Saskatchewan. “Sadly, despite growing public support, we have fallen far behind the rest of Canada

“To protect the health of their cities, Saskatchewan municipalities large and small have been adopting smoke-free bylaws that include e-cigarettes and marijuana, both indoors and outdoors. But most people in Saskatchewan are not protected from these harmful substances because we don’t have strong provincial laws,” says Jennifer May, VP of Health Promotion for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan.

In addition to supporting a ban on marijuana and e-cigarettes in public places, the poll also found:

  • 94% support smoke-free children’s playgrounds
  • 84% support smoke-free sports fields (ball diamonds, soccer pitches, etc.)
  • 81% support smoke-free public gatherings on municipal property (festivals, concerts, farmers’ markets, exhibition grounds, etc.)
  • 75% support smoke-free outdoor patios of restaurants and bars
  • 70% support raising the legal age to buy tobacco to 21 
  • 88% support directing a portion of tobacco tax revenue to areas such as enforcement, public education, prevention and helping people to quit
  • 63% support banning flavours in tobacco products, such as cherry, mint and grape

“We believe the provincial government has a responsibility to provide healthy and safe environments for everyone. It’s clear from this poll that Saskatchewan residents feel the same way,” says Pasiechnik.

Saskatchewan municipalities that have adopted new smoke-free bylaws include Warman, Martensville, Saskatoon, Maidstone and Regina. Prince Albert and Moose Jaw are in the process.

In November 2015, health groups issued a tobacco control report card and gave the provincial government a D+ for its listless efforts to protect the public from the harms of tobacco. More than 2 years later, the government still has not acted on any of the report’s recommendations.

 

About the poll

The survey was conducted in September 2017 by Ipsos Public Affairs for the Canadian Cancer Society and Lung Association of Saskatchewan. 505 Saskatchewan residents were interviewed online. The survey is accurate to within ±5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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:

Donna Pasiechnik
Canadian Cancer Society
306-790-9871

Jennifer May
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
306-343-9511