Canada’s First Nations Should Benefit from Global Tobacco Treaty

Attention: Assignment Editor, Health/Medical Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor

OTTAWA–(Oct. 29, 2007) – “The Canadian government has abandoned tobacco control in First Nations communities,” asserted Atul Kapur, President of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

A policy paper released today by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada shows:

* While lung cancer rates are going down among men in Canada, they are going up among First Nations men.* Smoking prevalence in aboriginal communities far exceeds the national average.

* Cheap cigarettes are advertised and easily available in most First Nations communities.

* There is little protection from second-hand smoke in workplaces and public places in many First Nations communities.

* Cigarettes are sold in First Nations communities that are not fire-safe and have no health warnings.

Over a year ago the federal government suspended the First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy, citing its ineffectiveness. Sadly, it has not been replaced. “We are left with no effective federal policies, nor any effective programs to address the tobacco epidemic that is sweeping our aboriginal communities,” said Dr. Kapur.

Every other nation in the world has found mulit-facetted, comprehensive tobacco control programs to be effective in helping to control the tobacco epidemic. “What has worked for other nations will work for First Nations too,” said Dr. Kapur.

Canada, along with 150 other countries has ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). The FCTC obliges its ratifiers to implement comprehensive tobacco control programs. “Today, we are calling on the federal government, as a ratifier of the FCTC and a leader in international tobacco control to enter into nation-to-nation negotiations with Canada’s First Nations and other aboriginal communities to seriously address the tobacco epidemic with comprehensive tobacco control programs and policies,” announced Dr. Kapur.

“If all First Nations, other aboriginal communities and all levels of government work together to create comprehensive tobacco control policies, we will be well on the way to controlling the epidemic of commercial tobacco use among aboriginal peoples,” concluded Dr. Kapur.


For more information, please contact

Neil Collishaw, Research Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
Primary Phone: 613-233-4878
Secondary Phone: 613-850-5594

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