Election Issues

Help fight tobacco

Provincial Policy Position: Funding needs to be increased to the initiatives under the province's Tobacco Control Strategy.

Last year the government expected to collect $250 million in tobacco taxes but only spent just $1 million on tobacco reduction. That’s less than half a percent and the funding was only guaranteed until the end of March 2012.

With the highest smoking rates in Canada, the provincial government needs to invest more money in programs to prevent youth from starting, to help smokers quit and public campaigns to educate smokers about the danger of tobacco use.There are enormous potential benefits to investing in tobacco reduction, including lives saved, better long-term health outcomes and cost savings. A decline of 25% in tobacco use prevalence is estimated could save $70 million annually (2008), not including employer cost-savings.

In 2009 the Canadian Cancer Society commissioned GPIAtlantic to calculate the cost of tobacco use to the Saskatchewan economy. Their report estimates the total cost is $1.1 billion annually. The report also found enormous potential benefits to investing in tobacco reduction. A decline of 25 per cent in smoking rates from 20 per cent to 15 per cent could save Saskatchewan approximately $70 million, not including employer cost-savings. This is why the Canadian Cancer Society has worked hard to advocate for a well-funded provincial tobacco control strategy.

Despite the progress we’ve made in reducing smoking rates in Saskatchewan, too many people still use tobacco. For some groups, particularly First Nations and Metis communities, the smoking rate is more than three times the rate of other Canadians. We need to do more.

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WHAT CAN GOVERNMENT DO?


Maintain or increase the current funding of initiatives under the province’s tobacco control strategy, Building a Healthier Saskatchewan.

  • The research is clear that comprehensive tobacco control strategies with adequate sustained funding can significantly reduce tobacco use among adults and youth.
  • In 2008, the Saskatchewan government increased funding to $1.3 million annually for three years. From 2007 to 2010, Saskatchewan’s smoking rates decreased from 24% to 21%.
  • Saskatchewan’s current per capita spending on tobacco control is one of the lowest amounts of any province or territory.

Ban all flavoured tobacco products, including spit tobacco.

  • The tobacco industry uses candy and fruit flavours to lure kids into trying these products, and to make their first tobacco experience more palatable.
  • Saskatchewan and Alberta account for 80% of the spit tobacco market in Canada, while representing only 14% of the population.
  • Spit tobacco contains at least 28 cancer-causing chemicals. Spit tobacco causes oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer.

Reduce the availability of tobacco
Despite measures to control the way tobacco products and marketed and sold at retail, tobacco is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week nearly everywhere. It can be found in essentially every corner store, gas station, grocery store and a myriad of other outlets. In Saskatchewan tobacco products can be purchase legally in approximately 2,200 locations. There are many arguments in support of reducing the availability of tobacco products at retail.

  • Greater availability increases consumption.
  • The ubiquity of tobacco retailers normalizes tobacco products and tobacco use.
  • The widespread availability of tobacco products undermines health warnings.
  • Fewer outlets would enhance enforcement efforts.



THE TOBACCO FACTS
Saskatchewan has the highest smoking rate in Canada.
 

Tobacco kills more than 1,500 Saskatchewan residents ever year.
 

Tobacco is responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths and 85% of lung cancer deaths.

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