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Smoking Cigarettes

Powerful Essays
Thank you for your warm welcome. Good afternoon. David, thank you for your introduction. To David, Dr. Cynthia Callard and all the others in the organization known as Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, thank you for having invited me to be part of this day.

Also, thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak with you about our common commitment against smoking. And let me also say how much I admire the work that has been done by the members of the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.

As David mentioned, because of the nature of your profession, you see up close and first hand the effects of tobacco use. You have seen its toll and you have decided to move beyond treating its symptoms to confronting its causes and by bringing your insight and your efforts from your practices to the public domain. You have made a real difference and I want to express today, on behalf of the government of Canada, our gratitude and admiration for the efforts that you have made in this important area.

I know there are other groups present here today, health groups committed to reducing the level of smoking in Canada, people who have spent their time and their energy speaking out and acting. By doing so, you have earned the respect of Canadians by helping us better understand the impact of tobacco use. The example that you have set, whether through individual action or membership in groups, by speaking out, organizing, acting, and raising public awareness of these issues, you have demonstrated once again that in order to effect positive change it is not necessary to run for Parliament or to hold a senior public position.

Someone once said that the highest office in a democracy is the office of citizen and by your commitment and by your actions you have fully discharged the responsibilities of that office and you have made Canada a better place.

What brings us all here together is National Non-Smoking Week. This week also draws attention to the many people and groups that are active in anti-smoking initiatives. The commitment that each of you brings to non-smoking is shared by my provincial and territorial colleagues, family doctors and specialists, medical and health associations, and by municipalities, voluntary groups and individuals across Canada.

As that range of participants shows, National Non-Smoking Week is very much rooted in our communities. Across Canada,...

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...adversary. Smoking is addictive. Its influence sometimes seems pervasive. It is part of the daily ritual of almost seven million Canadians and it is going to take a sustained and a long term effort by all partners to achieve our public health goals.

But those challenges give us every reason to get down to work and I am here today to tell you as Canada's Minister of Health that I am fully committed to our common cause.

Over the years, the partnership between health ministers and health groups has produced some very substantial gains on the subject of tobacco use. Smoking bans that were thought of as radical 20 years ago are now commonplace. Public awareness of smoking risks has never been higher. And our new Tobacco Act sets a world standard for anti-tobacco legislation.

It is now up to us, those of us in this room, those whom we represent, and me, as Minister of Health, to sustain that effort and to make further progress, step by step, to use all available tools as shrewdly as we can, and above all, to speak with one voice in serving notice on those who have a different interest that we shall continue until we prevail.

Thank you very much for having invited me here today.
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