The Canadian government announced Tuesday it would cut $15 million from federally-funded tobacco control programs.
According to a press release issued by Health Canada, smoking rates are at an all-time low in Canada, at 17 percent of the population. But tobacco still kills 37,000 Canadians every year and is the number one cause of preventable disease and death.
The Canadian Cancer Society is ‘strongly opposed‘ to the funding cuts. In the society’s news release, they attribute the 8 percent reduction in adult smoking rates from 1999 to 2010 to the work of Health Canada’s Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS).
According to Health Canada, anti-tobacco programs and services will be re-directed towards high-risk groups, such as Aboriginal populations where smoking rates are as high as 50 percent.
But what about the general population? Is targeting high risk groups enough?
A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that anti-tobacco television advertisements were effective in reducing adult and youth smoking rates. State, private and pharmaceutical-funded ads were correlated with less smoking, while ads by the tobacco industry were linked to more smoking – even if they weren’t deliberately promoting the act.
But as reported by Science Daily, the lead author of the study Sherry Emery said, ‘Our data suggests that it may not matter what you say to people, just that you’re saying it a lot.’
If we target anti-tobacco interventions towards high-risk groups, will the general population forget the ‘tobacco will kill you’ message?
What do you think about the funding cuts to tobacco control?
‘Amy Crofts, web intern