Health Minister Terry Lake has issued the following statement in recognition of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2014:
“Tobacco use is a serious addiction. Each year, more than 6,000 British Columbians die from the effects of tobacco. It is the single most-preventable cause of disease and death in British Columbia. This year, for World No Tobacco Day 2014, the World Health Organization is calling on countries to raise taxes on tobacco.
“British Columbia supports the World Health Organization’s call. Effective April 1, 2014, we increased the tax rate on cigarettes by $3.20 per carton to $47.50. Since 2001, the tobacco tax rate has more than doubled from $22.00 to $47.50 per carton.
“Tobacco taxes are an important part of our comprehensive strategy to reduce smoking rates throughout the province. This strategy also includes programs to help prevent tobacco use in youth, programs to help people quit and legislation to protect the public from the dangers of second-hand smoke. We also are calling on the federal government to expand legislation to include flavoured tobacco, a sweet-tasting danger to youth.
“B.C. is committed to a consistent and comprehensive approach to tobacco control, focusing on preventing youth and young adults from starting to smoke by levying penalties for retailers who sell to youth, as well as maintaining a high price for tobacco products and restricting tobacco use in schools at all times.
“Here in B.C. we continue to have the lowest smoking rates in Canada at 14.5%, which is a reflection of the importance British Columbians place on a healthy lifestyle supported by our strong tobacco control policy and smoking cessation programs.
“Through B.C.’s Smoking Cessation Program and QuitNow services, hundreds of thousands of British Columbians are supported in taking active steps toward making the choice to protect their own health and that of their families. The program provides support in quitting as well as free smoking cessation aids. It is easily accessible by calling HealthLink BC at 8-11 or visiting: www.quitnow.ca
“I encourage all British Columbians who smoke to take advantage of the Smoking Cessation Program and to consider quitting on World No Tobacco Day, for your health and your pocketbook.”
Media Relations Manager
Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)