Government of Canada marks World No Tobacco Day by sharing the What We Heard report from the National Forum on the Future of Tobacco Control in Canada

Forum brought together more than 150 stakeholders to set the groundwork for achieving aggressive target to drive down tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035

May 31, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Health Canada

Canada has made great strides in tobacco control, which has resulted in a drop in the overall smoking rate from 22% in 2001 to 13% in 2015. However, despite the decline in tobacco use in recent decades, there are still 3.9 million Canadians who smoke.

Today, on World No Tobacco Day, the Government of Canada released the What We Heard report from the National Forum on the Future of Tobacco Control in Canada. This forum was held in March 2017 and brought together a diverse group of partners and stakeholders to begin mapping out a bold new federal approach driven by an aggressive but achievable target: to reduce tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035. The ideas gathered in this report will be considered as we shape future policy and programs.

This forum was just a starting point. Since then, Health Canada has heard from more than 1,700 individuals and organizations through the public consultation on the future of tobacco control in Canada. Through these consultations, Canadians stated they are ready to support bold actions by the federal government; to stop having their health and the health of their loved ones affected by this addictive substance; to take action to prevent youth from starting to smoke; and to make a commitment to live healthier lives.

In the coming months, the Department looks forward to:

  • Supporting the legislative process for Bill S-5, the proposed Tobacco and Vaping Products Act. This Bill includes provisions to protect youth from nicotine addiction and tobacco use and allow adults to access vaping products as less harmful alternatives to tobacco.
  • Launching a public consultation on proposed vaping product regulations.
  • Sharing the What We Heard report from the broader public consultation on the future of tobacco control in Canada.
  • Continuing to work on updating tobacco packages with new personal stories from Canadians. Individuals who are interested in sharing their stories can contact us at [email protected] or 613-716-3513.

Health Canada will continue to work to modernize tobacco control in Canada to further drive down smoking rates. The Government of Canada’s commitment to charting a bold new course in tobacco control is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.


“Every 14 minutes a Canadian dies from a smoking-related illness; more than 100 will die today as we mark World No Tobacco Day. Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada, killing half of all long-term smokers. Canadians have shown us through the forum and consultations that they are ready to support bold actions by our Government to reduce tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035. Our country has a history of innovation in tobacco control, and together we will work to see fewer Canadians using tobacco in the years to come.”
Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

“As we work together on driving down tobacco use in Canada to less than 5% by 2035, let’s take this opportunity on World No Tobacco Day to think of what each of us can do. This might be a commitment to never starting to use tobacco, considering cessation programs like Break It Off or Run to Quit, or just having one less cigarette today. Any small action you take can lead to change. Smoking is a contributing factor to so many chronic diseases and conditions and so reaching our target would significantly improve public health for all Canadians.”
Dr. Theresa Tam
Canada’s Interim Chief Public Health Officer

Quick Facts

  • In Canada, 82% of current adult daily smokers had smoked their first cigarette by the age of 18. In 2015, approximately 115,000 Canadians began smoking daily.
  • To reduce the appeal of tobacco to youth, the Government of Canada banned the use of menthol in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars sold on the Canadian market.
  • Steps have been taken to prepare for the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products, including consultations on measures to reduce the visual appeal of packages.

Associated Links


Andrew MacKendrick
Office of Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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