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April 27, 2001
Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Calls for Action on Tobacco and Youth
Toronto Public Health - Toronto's Medical Officer of Health, Dr.
Sheela Basrur, today called on the federal government to "get serious" in
addressing the most critical public health issue affecting Canada's young

Appearing before a Senate Committee hearing on the proposed Tobacco Youth
Protection Act, Dr. Basrur described the incidence of smoking among youth as a
public health disaster. "Smoking is increasing among young people but the
federal government has failed to respond with any coherent strategy. This is
simply unacceptable."

Dr. Basrur pointed out that tobacco kills more than 45,000 Canadians, including
12,000 in Ontario, every year. "There is dramatic evidence of a direct link
between sustained public education targeted at young people and reduced smoking
rates. There is an urgent need for federal resources and a coordinated plan to
reach youth with effective messages."

Dr. Basrur was joined in her presentation by Ryan Hicks, a high-school student
trustee of the Toronto District School Board. Mr. Hicks described his
experience with the group Youth Taking Action Against Tobacco.

Mr. Hicks said young people have "great ideas and creative energy" on the
smoking issue. "They also know better than adults about education campaigns
that will and won't work. But this requires funding and it's time for the
federal government to show some leadership."

Media Contact
Mary Margaret Crapper
Toronto Public Health



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