While the hearings on Bill 44, which aims to further restrict tobacco use, begin tomorrow, at least 174 municipalities have added their voices to that of health care providers to ask the government to be much more strict by requiring plain packaging for cigarette packs and banning smoking on playgrounds for children.
These 174 cities, including Montreal, supported the campaign of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control (CQCT) and the Quebec division of the Canadian Cancer Society, asking the government to commit to a 10% reduction rate smoking in the Quebec population within 10 years.
“It is quite feasible,” said Dr. Genevieve Wood of CQCT. Other cities could swell the ranks of the mobilization.
“The price of tobacco in Quebec is the lowest in Canada because the tax rate,” said Montreal city councilor Marvin Rotrand, during a press conference at City Hall. The counselor does not exclude a wider debate on the price of cigarettes.
No smoking on the terraces
Bill 44 as introduced by the Minister for Public Health, Lucie Charlebois, including prohibit smoking on patios or in cars in the presence of a child under 16 years. The electronic cigarette is treated tobacco and sale of flavored tobacco is prohibited.
Nothing prevents municipal governments to ban smoking in city parks, but Mr. Rotrand believes it will be much more effective to have uniform rules for the entire province.
“This is a good bill, but it is long overdue, it should have been filed five years ago […]. All measurements are requests longstanding health groups, but there are missing elements, “said Dr. Wood. Mr. Rotrand added that Quebec now lags behind the laws of other provinces.
About plain packaging, Dr. Wood says that the packages may have the form of lipstick casings. “They are blue, purple or bright, it looks nice and it should not be, this is a product that is deadly,” she said.
Each week, 250 young people start smoking, said Geneviève Berteau, the Quebec division of the Canadian Cancer Society. Micheline Bélanger, a former smoker who survived lung cancer, recalled the importance of intensifying awareness of the dangers of tobacco to youth. “When I received my verdict cancer, the first thing I thought was that I was going to die and I asked myself,” Is it that I would be able to stop smoking? ” If this is not the abject poverty […] I do not know what it is. ”