Ontario’s Doctors have long been advocates against tobacco.
Tobacco industry products have no safe level of use, are highly addictive, and kill half of their long-term users prematurely. No other industry has caused the same number deaths and illnesses – 13,000+ annually in Ontario. Tobacco-induced disease directly costs Ontario’s health care system $1.6 billion annually.
The Government of Ontario has acted on tobacco with smoke-free spaces, marketing controls and some progress on smoking cessation, but physicians believe that there is more yet to do. The decline in smoking prevalence has now slowed; the total number of Ontario smokers is still approximately the same as at smoking’s peak – about 2 Million; and there are more contraband cigarettes, now at least 1/5 of supply.
2.2 Million tobacco-related hospital days & $110 Million cost of family physician visitsIn our most recent report, Tobacco, Illness and the Physician’s Perspective, and in our 2011 election platform recommendations, the OMA calls for:
- A strategy to control contraband tobacco in Ontario;
- A reduction in the thousands of retail tobacco outlets;
- An evidence-based, province-wide cessation system, within which anyone addicted to tobacco industry products who wishes to begin the cessation process can access meds, counseling, and other assistance;
- A moratorium on new tobacco products.