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Canada: health workers agree next targets

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Canada has long been a world leader in tobacco control, especially with its early triumphs on banning virtually all promotion and its subsequent triumph over a furious tobacco industry in pioneering graphic health warnings illustrating diseases caused by smoking. One might assume that by now, Canada has done it all. However, tobacco control leaders meeting at their annual conference in Edmonton, Alberta in September took stock of progress to date and focussed on the one major area still requiring attention. It is the need for total protection from second-hand smoke in all public places and in the workplace. The conference duly set targets for achieving this, as well as for reducing overall tobacco consumption.

Around 700 delegates agreed a national position summary and target list, the Edmonton statement, calling for Canada to become the second smoke-free country in the Americas (after Uruguay) by the end of 2008. They set a target to reduce Canada’s overall smoking prevalence to 12% by 2011. The statement also challenged the government to fulfil its obligations under the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and to make Canada a global exemplar of tobacco control by fully meeting all its FCTC obligations, in every province and territory, by 2011. The statement has been sent to the Canadian minister of health and to all the provincial and territorial governments.