Provincial government unveils new anti-smoking strategy

Banning the sale of cigarettes to children and protecting children from secondhand smoke in cars form the core of a new provincial anti-smoking campaign.

Banning the sale of cigarettes to children and protecting children from secondhand smoke in cars form the core of a new provincial anti-smoking campaign.

Health Minister Fred Horne introduced a three-year strategy to reduce tobacco use Monday.

Horne says the province will also bring in legislation to restrict the sale of flavoured tobacco and expand school-based stop-smoking programs.

All three pieces of legislation will be presented in the legislature next spring, making good an election promise by Premier Alison Redford.

The government will also consider tobacco tax increases and further restrictions on smoking in public areas.

Funding is to come from the Alberta Health Services budget.

There will be an extra $500,000 for a social media campaign on the dangers of smoking.

The province estimates smoking rates in Alberta have fallen from 25 per cent in 2001 to 19 per cent in 2010.

Creating Tobacco-Free Futures: Alberta’s Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use, 2012-2022, will focus on the following priorities over the next three years:

l legislation restricting the sale of flavoured tobacco;

l legislation to prohibit tobacco sales to minors;

l legislation to protect children from second-hand smoke in vehicles;

l more social marketing around tobacco use harms;

l more tobacco cessation training for health professionals; and

l expanded workplace, school-based and community tobacco-cessation programs.

The government will also consider over the next 10 years including point-of-sale health warning signage, tobacco tax increases, further restrictions on smoking in public areas including parks and expanding the availability of tobacco cessation products and resources.

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