Tobacco Reduction Strategy

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. This is why BCAHL supports policies that restrict cigarette marketing to young adults.

BCAHL is increasingly concerned about the potential health harms from e-cigarettes and vaping. 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. While BC has made significant progress in tobacco control, given the lethality of tobacco products and associated health costs, we can not afford to be complacent and must continue to strengthen efforts to bring down tobacco use especially given the recent youth trends.

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:

  • Raise the legal age to purchase tobacco and vapour products to 21 years.
  • Ban cigarette sales in pharmacies.
  • Implement an annual cost recovery fee on tobacco manufacturers operating or selling in BC to fund tobacco control initiatives.
  • Expand smoke-free housing options for tenants of condominiums, apartments, townhouses and other multi-unit housing types.
  • Continue to offer and expand specialized tobacco and cessation programs to high-risk populations.
  • Make youth related films with tobacco imagery ineligible for provincial film subsidies.
  • Provincial ratings should make tobacco imagery a criterion 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).
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