During National Non-Smoking Week, January 18-25, Canadians are reminded of the dangers of tobacco use and encouraged to quit smoking. While there have been marked reductions in tobacco use in Canada over the past 40 years, smoking remains the number one cause of cancer and approximately 20% of Canadians continue to use tobacco on an occasional or regular basis.
Research shows tobacco use by cancer patients reduces the effectiveness of their treatment and their likelihood of survival. There is an opportunity for the tobacco control and cancer control communities to work together to help prevent Canadians from starting to smoke, help those who wish to quit smoking, and specifically support Canadian cancer patients who wish to quit smoking. That’s why the Partnership recently established a new initiative to support better integration of tobacco control and cancer control resources across the country.
The Partnership’s multi-year tobacco control and cancer control initiative will:
- Convene experts to improve and expand smoking cessation programs within cancer diagnosis and treatment settings;
- Explore expanding smoking cessation services into other cancer care service areas, such as cancer screening; and
- Explore opportunities for collective action on emerging tobacco control issues, such as e-cigarettes.
The Partnership also plays a key role in gathering key tobacco and cancer prevention knowledge and sharing it with partners. These efforts include:
- Sharing surveillance information on tobacco use and cessation on an annual basis as part of the System Performance initiative.
- Monitoring federal, provincial, territorial and municipal cancer prevention policies, through our Prevention Policies Directory. This tool provides easy access to policy documents and tracks changes in cancer prevention policies across Canada, including tobacco control and e-cigarette policies, to support evidence-informed policy development.
- Promoting uptake of evidence-based approaches to tobacco cessation through annual environmental scanning of programs in Canada, and peer-reviewed evidence on effective approaches to cessation within the cancer control system.
- Analyzing emerging issues to help our partners in cancer control make evidence-informed decisions. Recently, the Partnership submitted a written brief on the harms and benefits of e-cigarettes to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health for their consideration.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of cancer in Canada. It contributes to lung cancer, the leading type of cancer death among Canadians. It also increases the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, lips, nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), esophagus (swallowing tube), stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, uterus, cervix, colon/rectum, ovary (mucinous), and acute myeloid leukemia. Tobacco use is also a major risk factor for other chronic diseases such as heart disease and chronic obstructive lung disease.