Media backgrounder: The Canadian Cancer Society fights tobacco

09 May 2012

Toronto -

The Canadian Cancer Society is a leader in the fight against tobacco, and our collective efforts across Canada are making a difference.


As a leader of tobacco control advocacy in Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society has helped to change public attitudes and government policy towards tobacco. Most recently:

  • Our efforts contributed to a new set of larger graphic health warnings covering 75% of the front and back of cigarette and cigarillo (little cigar) packages.
  • We supported the implementation of Bill C-32 barring retailers from selling fruit- and candy-flavoured cigarillos, cigarettes and blunt wraps (rolling papers made of tobacco), which are very appealing to youth.
  • We participated as an intervenor in a Supreme Court of Canada hearing on federal tobacco legislation. Along with the federal government and six provinces, the Society argued in support of the constitutional validity of the federal Tobacco Act restricting tobacco advertising, banning tobacco sponsorship and requiring large warnings on cigarette packages. The legislation was being challenged by three major tobacco manufacturers but was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court.
  • We have advocated for many other tobacco control measures, including

o higher tobacco taxes

o smoke-free workplaces, public places and vehicles carrying children

o enhanced government programming initiatives

These initiatives, along with our continuing efforts, will reduce tobacco use in Canada and save lives.


Programs and support

Smokers’ Helpline:The Canadian Cancer Society operates Smokers’ Helpline – a free, confidential telephone support service for smokers trying to quit, for those who are thinking about quitting and the people who support them. Trained quit coaches can help smokers develop a personalized quit plan, answer questions about quitting and refer callers to programs and services in their community. This is also available online at In Quebec, the telephone support service is known as the Ligne j’Arrête and is available online at

Online support: The Society recently launched a new digital campaign including a website and mobile apps for smoking cessation called Break If Off ( by Smokers’ Helpline, the campaign aims to help young adults quit. Smoking rates among young adults aged 20–24 remain well above the Canadian average.

Helping smokers quit:The Society is doing everything it can to empower, inform and support Canadians. That’s why we offer an innovative step-by-step, self-help quit program – One Step at a Time. Developed with input from smokers who have successfully quit, these brochures are an excellent resource for smokers and those who care about them.


Every year, the Society funds research that leads to a better understanding of lung cancer as well as ways to control tobacco use. For example:

  • a molecular study to discover how lung cancer cells become aggressive and to find ways to prevent and treat the spread of lung cancer to other parts of the body
  • a study investigating the roles that three genes play in lung cancer and how to disrupt their function as a possible way to stop the development of lung tumours
  • a prevention study to evaluate tobacco control policies in several Asian, South Asian and African countries, which will gather information to be used in the development of effective population-based approaches aimed at reducing smoking rates
  • a study of vigorous‑intensity exercise as an adjunct to nicotine replacement therapy to facilitate smoking cessation, improve physical fitness and delay weight gain in women who smoke
  • several studies to test the effectiveness of social media interventions to help people quit smoking

In 2012, the Canadian Cancer Society is investing $4 million in lung cancer and tobacco-related research projects.


We provide Canadians with up-to-date, comprehensive information about tobacco, smoking, lung cancer prevention and treatment. We supply this information through print material, our website and our Cancer Information Service.

Find out more

To find out more about the Society’s services, call the Society’s Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333 or visit

Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012 is prepared, printed and distributed through a collaboration of the Canadian Cancer Society, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and provincial and territorial cancer registries.

For more information about Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012, visit the Society’s website at

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Backgrounder: General cancer statistics

Backgrounder: Facts on tobacco


The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) is the only national charity that supports Canadians with all cancers in communities across the country. No other organization does what we do; we are the voice for Canadians who care about cancer. We fund groundbreaking research, provide a support system for all those affected by cancer and advocate to governments for important social change.

Help us make a difference. Call 1-888-939-3333 or visit today.

For more information, please contact:

Christine Harminc

Senior Manager, Communications & Media Relations

Canadian Cancer Society

Phone: 416 934-5340