Libby challenges the Conservative government’s reduction in anti-smoking initiatives



House of Commons


February 3, 2014

Ms. Libby Davies (Vancouver East, NDP):

Mr. Speaker, the minister should not hide behind the provinces. This is about a lack of federal leadership.

The fact is the Conservatives have also abandoned anti-smoking advertising. Instead, since 2007, the government has focused its tobacco advertising on contraband tobacco. This is very odd as it happens to be the exact same priority as the lobbyists of big tobacco.

Why has the minister abandoned important anti-smoking advertising?

Is it because she is bowing to the demands of well-connected Conservative lobbyists? Is that what she is doing?

Hon. Rona Ambrose (Minister of Health, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, I happen to be a vehement anti-smoking advocate.  I can reassure the member that I would be happy to look at any opportunities to close existing loopholes that she might see.  I would encourage that member to speak to me because I would be happy to look at them. That reality is that smoking now in Canada is at an all-time low, dropping from 22% to 16% over the last decade.  A lot of that is in response to not only advertising campaigns, but changes we have made to packaging. A lot of that has been targeted at our youth and we have seen a huge success.