History of tobacco control

  • 1950s and 1960s
    1950  First modern studies published regarding the relationship between smoking and lung cancer 
    1963  Canadian Health Minister Judy LaMarsh concludes that smoking is a contributory cause of lung cancer 
    1964  US Surgeon General Advisory Committee concludes that smoking causes lung and laryngeal cancer in men and is a probable cause in women 
    1969  House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs recommends that tobacco advertising be banned and that a warning be placed on packages 
  • 1970s and 1980s
    1970s  Municipalities begin to adopt bylaws to restrict smoking in public places 
    1972  Tobacco industry withdraws direct tobacco advertising from radio and television and places a weak health warning on the side of cigarette packages 
    1988  Tobacco Products Control Act adopted to ban tobacco advertising 
    1989  Tobacco Products Control Regulations require a series of 4 text health warnings to cover 20% of the package front and back 
  • 1990s

    Federal tobacco taxes increased by $6 per carton – the largest federal increase in Canadian history

    All provinces and territories have used tobacco tax increases as a means to decrease smoking 

    1993  Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act adopted to increase the minimum federal age for tobacco sales to 18 from 16 effective in 1994

    Tobacco Products Control Regulations amended to require a series of 8 black and white health warnings covering 35% of the package front and back

    Ontario becomes first province to ban tobacco sales in pharmacies– all provinces except British Columbia have since done so

    1996  Vancouver becomes first municipality to adopt a bylaw requiring restaurants to be 100% smoke-free

    Tobacco Act amended to prohibit tobacco sponsorships, effective in 2003

    British Columbia becomes first province to file medicare cost recovery lawsuit against the tobacco industry –all provinces would subsequently do the same

  • 2000s

    Tobacco Products Information Regulations adopted to require world precedent setting picture-based warnings covering 50% of the package front and back

    Canadian Cancer Society establishes Smokers’ Helpline in Ontario, providing smokers a toll-free service for assistance on how to quit

    The Society would later provide a similar service in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Yukon 


    Saskatchewan becomes first province to adopt legislation to prohibit visible display of tobacco products at retail, effective in 2002 –all provinces and territories would later do the same 


    WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – the international tobacco control treaty –approved, effective in 2005 

    2004  Manitoba, New Brunswick, Northwest Territories and Nunavut become first provinces/territories to adopt legislation making all restaurants and bars 100% smoke-free – all provinces and territories have now done so
    2008  Wolfville, NS becomes the first municipality to ban smoking in vehicles with kids – this would later be implemented by provincial legislation in all provinces 

    Parliament amends the Tobacco Act to ban flavoured cigarettes and some little cigars (effective in 2010) and ban print advertising


    New federal regulations come into effect increasing the size of health warnings to 75% of the front and back of cigarette packages and including a toll-free quitline number and web address in the warnings

    Read the Society’s news release, Sept. 27, 2011 


    Nova Scotia becomes the first jurisdiction in the world to ban flavours including menthol in tobacco products, and is followed by other provinces

    Read the Society’s news release, May 29, 2015 

    Quebec Superior Court awards $15.5 billion in class action against three major tobacco companies


    National ban on menthol cigarettes takes effect

    2018  Federal Minister of Health establishes objective of under 5% tobacco use by 2035