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The CCS would like to un­der­score the ef­forts of all the Health and So­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee mem­bers who worked to shape this new version of the leg­is­la­tion – passed unan­i­mously. This will have a ma­jor im­pact be­cause five years from now, the gov­ern­ment es­ti­mates there will be 430,000 fewer smok­ers in Que­bec, which means that tens of thou­sands of pre­ma­ture deaths as well as suf­fer­ing will be pre­vented and the bur­den on the pub­licly funded health­care sys­tem will be eased.

Ev­ery week in Que­bec, 250 young peo­ple fall prey to smok­ing at an av­er­age age of 13 years. With the new leg­is­la­tion, it will be much more dif­fi­cult for the tobacco in­dus­try to make their prod­ucts at­trac­tive to young peo­ple. “When you’re 12, start­ing to smoke isn’t a choice but a trap. As a teenager, I was a tar­geted vic­tim of cig­a­rette man­u­fac­tur­ers and it al­most cost me my life. Smok­ing makes you lose an av­er­age of ten years of your life and age ter­ri­bly: can­cer, se­vere pains, em­phy­sema, strokes, func­tional im­pair­ment and the long list con­tin­ues,” says Miche­line Bélanger, a for­mer smoker and lung can­cer sur­vivor who lives with per­ma­nent pul­monary dam­age from smok­ing.

Through its pres­ence in the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee and on the ground, the CCS be­came the voice of the pub­lic: more than 55,000 Que­be­cers signed the pe­ti­tion ask­ing the gov­ern­ment to adopt strong anti-tobacco mea­sures. This pop­u­lar de­mand was sup­ported by 64 or­ga­ni­za­tions, fed­er­a­tions, as­so­ci­a­tions and pro­fes­sional bod­ies. Two prin­ci­pal mea­sures which the CCS has re­peat­edly de­manded over the past five years were heard and in­te­grated into the leg­is­la­tion: a ban on flavoured tobacco prod­ucts; and pack­ag­ing mea­sure: Que­bec is the first prov­ince in the world to re­quire such a large min­i­mum size for warn­ings on cig­a­rette pack­ages.

“The in­dus­try knows it well: flavoured prod­ucts are a foot in the door to tobacco ad­dic­tion. The same ap­plies to the slen­der pack­ag­ing of su­per slim cig­a­rettes to look like lip­stick, which tar­gets young girls. From now on, th­ese prod­ucts will be banned,” says Mélanie Cham­pagne, Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Is­sues, CCS.

Other mea­sures de­manded by the CCS have also been in­te­grated into the leg­is­la­tion: Reg­u­la­tion of e-cig­a­rettes: the law reg­u­lates sale to mi­nors as well as ad­ver­tis­ing/pro­mo­tion, in ad­di­tion to ban­ning the as­so­ci­a­tion of tobacco brands with e-cig­a­rettes. This mea­sure, put for­ward by the CCS to the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee, stops tobacco com­pa­nies from us­ing the same strat­egy as in the United States where cig­a­rettes and e-cig­a­rettes can both be mar­keted un­der the same brand name; and the in­crease in smoke-free zones: it will no longer be pos­si­ble to smoke in a ve­hi­cle when a child un­der 16 is present, bar and restau­rant pa­tios, chil­dren’s parks and sports fields, among oth­ers.

Lung can­cer kills twice as many women as breast can­cer and four times as many men as prostate can­cer. “In the near fu­ture, the gov­ern­ment will have to tackle tobacco prices here, which are the low­est and least taxed in the whole of Canada. We know be­yond doubt that a price hike is one of the best tools to con­vince smok­ers to

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