Territorial candidates commit to reducing lung cancer

16 November 2015

Yellowknife -

The Canadian Cancer Society is pleased that the majority of territorial candidates are taking a firm stance on the number one thing that will decrease cancer cases in the Northwest Territories: reducing tobacco use.

The Society recently sent a two-question survey to all territorial candidates to assess their stance on tobacco policy. Tobacco use in the Northwest Territories is nearly double the national rate and, unlike kids in other provinces and the Yukon, children and youth living in the Northwest Territories are not protected from second-hand smoke.

“Changing public policies is one of the most effective tools for preventing cancer, so we are extremely pleased to learn that the majority of territorial candidates who responded to our survey are committed to reducing tobacco use in the Northwest Territories,” says Fernanda Martins with the Canadian Cancer Society in Yellowknife.

The survey asked candidates their stance on two policies that the Society believes should be a cornerstone of a comprehensive tobacco-reduction strategy:

  • smoke-free outdoor spaces where children play
  • smoke-free vehicles carrying children

A significant majority of candidates chose to participate in the survey, and of those who responded, 97 per cent said they would support legislation that bans smoking in vehicles carrying children, and nearly 85 per cent said they would support legislation that bans smoking in select outdoor public spaces.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer, which is the deadliest cancer in Canada. Lung cancer is responsible for a quarter of all cancer deaths in the Northwest Territories.

Why start with these 2 policies?

“These policies protect youth from deadly second-hand smoke exposure, and help ensure that fewer young people are put in situations where they see smoking as a normal behavior worth exploring,” says Martins.

“We are pleased by the uptake of the survey among candidates and by the level of awareness demonstrated in many of their comments. In order to protect our youth, we need a comprehensive approach to tobacco control that includes policies like these.”

Laws prohibiting smoking in vehicles carrying children have been adopted in the Yukon and in all Canadian provinces except Quebec.

The provinces of Ontario and New Brunswick as well as more than 50 municipalities across Canada have banned smoking in public outdoor locations.

Lung cancer kills nearly 21,000 Canadians every year – that’s more than breast, colorectal and prostate cancers combined.

Survey results

  • 65 per cent of candidates responded to the Society’s survey.
  • 97 per cent of candidates who responded said they support smoke-free vehicles carrying children.
  • Nearly 85 per cent of candidates who responded said they support smoke-free parks and playgrounds.

Learn more about these two cancer-preventing policies and read candidates’ comments on these two policies by visiting cancer.ca.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a mission-based, non-partisan organization. All territorial candidates were given a fair and equal opportunity to respond to our survey.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers and staff whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. Make your gift today at cancer.ca.

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339