Tobacco Reduction

Smoking costs the BC economy more than $2.7 billion annually in direct and indirect healthcare costs.

Tobacco is addictive, poisonous and kills 16 British Columbians every day. Even so, more than 600,000 people in BC continue to smoke, with young adults showing the highest rates of smoking.

Even though 19 to 29 year-olds have become a major marketing target for tobacco companies, there are few programs to support them. To overcome this, BCAHL initiativestargeted these young adults in our BCAHL_TobaccoReductionStrategy.

BCAHL is increasingly concerned about the potential health harms from e-cigarettes. These are also being heavily marketed to and consumed by youth.

Smoking continues to exact a high price; in fact, it costs the BC economy more than $2.7 billion annually in direct and indirect healthcare costs.

There are ways we can build on our successful record and continue moving toward a smoke-free future.

BCAHL recommends the following tobacco reduction policies:

  • Improve compliance with restrictions on tobacco sales to minors
  • Make youth related films with tobacco imagery ineligible for provincial film subsidies.
  • Provincial ratings should make tobacco imagery a criteria for 18A classification, with the exception of depictions of historical figures and unambiguous depictions of the dire health consequences of tobacco use.
  • End tobacco product and brand placement by requiring producers to attest that each film is free of tobacco funding.
  • Require strong anti-tobacco spots, at distributors’ and exhibitors’ expense: require film exhibitors and electronic media carriers in Canada to show a strong anti-tobacco spot announcement immediately before any film with tobacco imagery, regardless of its territory of origin, method of delivery to the carrier or age-classification. (Such spots are already visible on some MPAA-member studio DVDs distributed in Canada).
  • Lobby pharmacies to stop selling cigarettes.
  • Increase the price of cigarettes by $2.00 per carton per year.
  • Expand Smoke-free Housing options for tenants of condominiums, apartments, townhouses and other multi-unit housing types.
  • Recommendations on e-cigarettes

BCAHL Tobacco Reduction Initiatives

From 2007 to 2010, BCAHL funded and delivered four tobacco reduction initiatives.

Based on promising practices, the tobacco reduction initiatives reached out to young adults where they live, work, learn and play.

  • Smoke Free Housing –worked to increase smoke-free housing with a focus on apartments and other multi-unit housing
  • Tobacco-Free Workplace Initiative – targeted young adults where they work and has now evolved into a comprehensive program, Wellness Fits
  • Tobacco-Free Post-Secondary Initiative –created support for smoke-free campuses
  • Quitters Unite! – motivated quitting with a youth-developed marketing and outreach campaign

With an interest in contributing to the health promotion knowledge base, BCAHL invested in external evaluation of the initiatives. The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) provided evaluations for select initiatives:

For copies of complete evaluations for these initiatives contact

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