Minister of Health announces funding for projects to help Canadians stop tobacco use

Projects funded will also help stop youth vaping

31 May 2020               Ottawa, Ontario                   Health Canada

Tobacco is the leading preventable cause of premature death and disease in Canada. Although progress has been made over the years to reduce tobacco use among Canadians, it continues to be a significant public health problem. We’re also seeing troubling trends of vaping among youth, which poses risks to the health of young Canadians, and can also lead to nicotine addiction.

To mark World No Tobacco Day, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, announced nearly $4.8 million in funding for organizations across Canada to develop programs and services that will help stop tobacco use among Canadians, and reduce youth vaping.

The Government of Canada knows the significant health harms associated with smoking and youth vaping, which is why we continue to implement Canada’s Tobacco Strategy. We’ve invested close to $330-million in this strategy, which aims to reduce tobacco use to less than 5% by 2035, to help Canadians quit smoking and to continue to protect young people and non-smokers from nicotine addiction.

We know that quitting smoking and using tobacco is not easy, and those who want to quit don’t have to do it alone. We will continue working in partnership with organizations across the country to reduce vaping among youth and to keep all Canadians safe and healthy.


“Smoking and tobacco use continues to be a leading cause of death in Canada, and even more troubling is the rise in vaping and nicotine addiction among Canadian youth. World No Tobacco Day is an opportunity to remind everyone about the serious health risks associated with smoking and vaping, and about the steps we are taking to help those who want to stop using tobacco. We have taken steps forward, but we must continue our work to prevent tobacco-related harms and to reduce vaping among Canadian youth.”

The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

“To make progress against public health challenges like tobacco use, we need the coordinated efforts of governments at all levels, health charities, researchers and clinicians. Support from Health Canada’s SUAP program for the project “Addressing Knowledge Gaps Important to Tobacco Regulation” allows Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit to help regulators meet emerging challenges in tobacco control, such as vaping, retailing and pricing.”

Cynthia Callard
Executive Director, Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada

“Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada and most young people who smoke regularly continue to smoke throughout adulthood. Yet, many of them want to quit, but there are few services available to help them. With funding from Health Canada, we are developing an engaging and interactive online youth tobacco cessation platform specifically created for those aged 14-19. It will tackle how to quit both smoking and vaping, and offer multiple strategies that can be learned at the user’s own pace. One in 10 Canadian high school-aged youth smoke, and although great progress has been made over the years in tobacco control, that number is still too high. We know we can reduce it with the right partners by our side.”

George Habib
President & CEO, Lung Health Foundation

“Different nicotine-containing products have different levels of risk associated with their use. If you use these products there are many ways that you can significantly reduce your risk of health-related harms. With support from Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program, Guidelines for Lower-Risk Nicotine Use are currently being developed by experts at CAMH and across Canada – coming soon!”

Dr. Laurie Zawertailo
Senior Scientist, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

“The prevalence of youth vaping continues to increase in Canada, with more youth reporting frequent use. Health Canada funding is helping us to monitor the changing vaping market and to understand levels of dependence among youth who vape in Canada.”

Dr. David Hammond, PhD
Professor & Canadian Institute of Health Research/Public Health Agency of Canada Applied Public Health Chair, School of Public Health & Health Systems, University of Waterloo

“Action on Smoking & Health is delighted to have received funding from Health Canada to help prevent the renormalization of smoking among youth in the Western provinces.  The legalization of cannabis and the explosive rise in youth vaping have the potential to influence social norms among youth. By working collaboratively with our partners and provincial tobacco control coalitions, we are taking action to protect youth from smoking and vaping in various public settings.  This project will help to protect the enormous gains that have been made in reducing youth tobacco use by supporting the development of bylaws and policies to create more smoke-free public spaces.”

Les Hagen, M.S.M.
Executive Director, Association for Action on Smoking and Health (ASH Canada)

“This funding has allowed us to setup a National Youth Leadership Team of peer influencers from coast to coast to coast who are engaging in meaningful conversations with their peers across the country to achieve the 5 by 35 goal.”

Sharif Mahdy
Executive Director
The Students Commission of Canada
Centre of Excellence for Youth Engagement

Quick facts

  • World No Tobacco Day, led by the World Health Organization, takes place May 31 and aims to raise awareness on the deadly dangers of tobacco use and we are taking the opportunity of this years’ theme to highlight the government initiatives in protecting youth from the harms of tobacco and vaping products.
  • According to the most recent Canadian Student Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CSTADS):
    • in 2018-19, the prevalence of current daily smoking decreased among students in grades 7 to 12 to 0.9% (approximately 19,000) from 1.3% in 2016-17.
    • the prevalence of vaping among students has doubled since 2016-2017. In fact, 20% of students had vaped within thirty days of being surveyed.
  • According to the most recent Canadian Tobacco, Alcohol and Drugs Survey (CTADS), in 2017, 18% (5.3 million) of Canadians aged 15 years and older had used at least one tobacco product in the past 30 days, an increase from 15% in 2015. In 2017, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking was 15% (4.6 million) among Canadians aged 15+ years.
  • Services and supports are available to help Canadians quit smoking. Trained specialists with the pan-Canadian toll-free quit line can help individuals develop a quit-smoking plan, answer questions and provide referrals to programs and services in communities across Canada, including information on how to access quit-smoking medications that can help with the potential withdrawal symptoms. Canadians can reach quit-smoking specialists at 1-866-366-3667 or online, or can talk to a health care professional.
  • Funding for these projects was provided under Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.
  • Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program is a federal grants and contributions program that provides financial support to provinces, territories, non-governmental organizations, Indigenous organizations, key stakeholders and individuals to strengthen responses to drug and substance use issues in Canada.

Associated links


Cole Davidson
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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