Ottawa to step up fight against smoking, drugs

The federal government is stepping up its fight against tobacco, with a promise to cut smoking rates in Canada from 19 per cent last year to 12 per cent by 2011.
Health Minister Tony Clement, in Vancouver today for the Canadian Medical Association’s annual general meeting, said the target is ambitious but not unrealistic. “Seeing the great progress we have made over the past few years, I am confident . . . we can achieve this goal,” he said in a statement.
Clement also reiterated a promise to get tough on illicit drug use, saying mixed messages about the acceptability of drugs – including marijuana – must end.
“Canada has not run a serious or significant anti-drug campaign for almost 20 years, and the messages young people have received during the past several years have been confusing and conflicting, to say the least,” he told delegates.
“We are very concerned about the damage and pain that drugs cause families and we intend to reverse the trend toward vague, ambiguous messaging that has characterized Canadian attitudes in the recent past.”
He sidestepped questions about whether the anti-drug strategy would include harm-reduction measures such as Vancouver’s safe injection site, saying enforcement and prevention can also be considered harm reduction.
Furthermore, he said there is conflicting research about whether the safe injection site has been successful, adding that Ottawa will review all the data before making the long-awaited decision about whether the site can continue to operate.

Source: August 2007

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