Health groups condemn cuts to anti-smoking program

OTTAWA — National health groups are condemning the Harper government for cuts to a federal non-smoking program.

OTTAWA — National health groups are condemning the Harper government for cuts to a federal non-smoking program.

Melodie Tilson, from the Non-Smokers Rights Association, says the cuts give tobacco companies the upper hand in influencing future health policy decisions.

“Why would the Harper government gut a program that saves the lives of Canadians, saves government money and safeguards the health and well-being of our youth?” Tilson asked.

“Consider who wins by this decision. The only winner — and they are big winners — is big tobacco.”

Tilson is one of several public-health experts and non-smoking advocates who are critical of the recent federal budget that cut $15 million — more than 30 per cent — from the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy.

The program has successfully reduced the number of smokers across Canada, including a reduction of youth tobacco use by half.

There are still about five million smokers in the country.

The health groups say that decreasing funding for the program will leave Health Canada ill-prepared for emerging issues, such as growing use of smokeless tobacco products and flavoured water-pipe tobacco.

But Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq listed several government anti-smoking initiatives, including warning labels on cigarette packaging, a national hotline for people who want to quit smoking and a ban on small, flavoured cigarettes targeted at youth.

“The current tobacco program is a decade old,” Aglukkaq said in a statement.

“It has helped contribute to success, but now is the time to make changes that focus on those populations that are smoking far more than the national average.”

Just Posted

95-year-old man dies in collision near Three Hills

A 95-year-old man died in a two-vehicle collision near Three Hills Tuesday… Continue reading

Medicine River Wildlife Centre does not receive provincial grant for new wildlife hospital

The Medicine River Wildlife Centre is $440,000 short for its new wildlife… Continue reading

Leaky Lacombe curling rink roof to be replaced

A 2015 hailstorm is believed to be the reason for the Lacombe… Continue reading

Red Deer College allows PDD students to pursue higher education

Inclusion Alberta accepts applications for non-credit students

WATCH: Alberta’s revenue shortage discussed during event at Red Deer College

Albertans need to be taxed more so public services, like schools and… Continue reading

Mane Event rides into Red Deer

A weekend for the horses comes to Red Deer, as the Westerner… Continue reading

Edmonton retiree robbed of $210K in silver bars police investigating

EDMONTON — Police are hoping that they can provide a silver lining… Continue reading

Cause of plane crash that killed former Alberta premier Jim Prentice to be released

The findings of investigation into the plane crash that killed four set to be released.

MPAA head says theatres will survive rise of streaming sites

LAS VEGAS — Two film industry leaders told theatre owners Tuesday that… Continue reading

Turning vehicles into deadly weapons is easy and cheap, expert says

Preventing people from using vehicles as deadly weapons is a difficult task… Continue reading

These presidential presents are a little peculiar

What kind of gift do you give the leader of the free… Continue reading

A powerful memorial remembers the victims of lynching

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, a somber,… Continue reading

Mysterious mummy found in Iran could be father of last shah

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Construction workers in Iran may have unearthed… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month