The Canadian Dental Association (CDA) is discouraged by the announcement from Health Canada that the tobacco control budget is being cut by $15 million.
“The federal government is putting the health of Canadians at risk,” said Dr. Euan Swan, Manager of Dental Programs at CDA. “Thousands of Canadians die each year of preventable tobacco related diseases including cancer of the mouth. The government has a responsibility to Canadians to continue to regulate tobacco products and by not renewing the federal tobacco control strategy many more Canadians will be at risk.”
The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) is the largest anti-tobacco program run by Health Canada. Over the years, the FTCS has been very successful in curbing smoking in Canada with the picture-based health warnings, bans on flavoured tobacco products and a significant drop in smoking rates.
The program was successful, but there is more to be done. Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada. Direct health care costs from tobacco are more than $4.4 billion per year, and total economic costs are more than $17 billion per year. For every premature death caused by tobacco, there are at least 20 people living with a tobacco-related illness.
Also, if the FTCS continued to receive adequate funding the program could address smokeless tobacco use which is on the rise in Canada, mainly among young people. Tobacco companies have added candy and fruit flavours to the chewing tobacco masking the unpleasant taste of the product and leading kids to believe that the product is harmless.
The Canadian Dental Association is disappointed in the government’s decision to cut funding to this very important program. Canada has always been considered a world leader in tobacco control. CDA will continue to advocate for stronger tobacco control laws but cuts to the FTCS represent the loss of an important ally in the fight against tobacco.
The Canadian Dental Association is the national voice for dentistry, dedicated to the advancement and leadership of a unified profession and to the promotion of optimal dental health, an essential component of general health.
Canadian Dental Association
(613) 523-1770 ext 2213