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LETTER: We need British Columbia’s leadership to reform the tobacco industry

Editor:

It’s National Non-Smoking Week, and British Columbia has a historic opportunity to reduce healthcare costs and reform the tobacco industry.

Over many decades, Big Tobacco has engaged in deception and targeted marketing that has addicted youth and resulted in immense suffering, disease and premature death for so many people. The devastating impacts of tobacco use in British Columbia is extensive and undeniable – more than 400,000 (9%) still smoke tobacco, with 5,800 tobacco-related deaths and $688 million in healthcare costs every year.

All 10 provinces have filed lawsuits against the tobacco industry collectively seeking more than $500 billion in damages, and right now British Columbia’s government is negotiating a settlement with Big Tobacco.

To prevent disease and save lives, it’s vital that the settlement implement strict new controls on the tobacco industry, and establish substantial long-term funding for tobacco control through an independent fund. We must protect future generations. As such, the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) urges Premier David Eby to use this monumental opportunity to hold Big Tobacco accountable and prevent future harm to citizens.

Andrea Seale

CEO, Canadian Cancer Society

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