Protect teens from tobacco: Raise the smoking age in Canada to 21
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Tobacco kills 100 Canadians every day and causes long-term disability for many more people. Cigarettes eventually kill 50% of smokers. They die ten years earlier than non-smokers.
"To sell a product that kills up to half of its users requires extraordinary marketing savvy, and tobacco companies are some of the most manipulative product sellers and promoters in the world"- WHO report.
About 90% of smokers start smoking before the age of 21. At this age, people are less able to balance short-term pleasure against long-term health risks. Their brains have not finished developing. People who start to smoke as teenagers are more likely to smoke heavily throughout their lives and find it more difficult to quit. That's why the tobacco companies target teen smokers.
“If a man has never smoked by age 18, the odds are three-to-one he never will. By age 24 the odds are twenty-to-one.” RJ Reynolds tobacco company executive.
The smoking age in Canada is 18 in some areas and 19 in others. There is nowhere in Canada where you have to be over 19 to buy tobacco. America is leading the way: The State of Hawaii increased the legal smoking age to 21 in January 2016. In many American cities including New York and Cleveland, you have to be 21 to buy cigarettes.
“Raising the legal minimum age for cigarette purchaser to 21 could gut our key young adult market.” – Philip Morris report, 1986.
Canada should protect our teenagers from the tobacco industry by increasing the minimum age for buying any form of tobacco to 21.
- Health Minister
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Raise the smoking age in Canada to 21
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