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Report of tobacco’s two-in-three death toll prompts new call for tobacco tax hike

Feb 26, 2015

Toronto, ON – The Ontario Lung Association today renewed its call for an immediate and substantial increase in provincial tobacco taxes and other measures to drive down smoking rates in the province following the release of a new study showing that two-thirds of tobacco users will die from their addiction.

“We already know that smoking is the number one cause of preventable illness and premature death,” said George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. “The new study paints a stark picture of just how much death it is causing.”

The large-scale population study of 200,000 Australians, published in the journal BioMed Central, provides the first evidence from a broad cross-section of the population that the death toll from smoking is as high as two-thirds. It mirrors the findings of recent smaller studies in Britain and the U.S.

The Australian study also found that people who smoke will die about 10 years earlier than those who don’t.

Habib said that increasing the price of cigarettes through a significant tax increase is the single most effective way to lower smoking rates by discouraging new tobacco users and encouraging current users to quit.

“Although there was a small tax increase last year, Ontario still has the second cheapest cigarettes in Canada after Quebec,” he said.

Link to a report on the study in Science Daily:

Link to the full study:

The Ontario Lung Association is a registered charity that assists, educates and empowers individuals living with or caring for others with lung disease. The Lung Association offers several programs to support people who want to quit smoking. The toll-free Lung Health Information Line – 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) – is staffed by certified respiratory educators who are trained to help people who want to quit, particularly those already affected by lung disease.

They can also download the popular Journey 2 Quit workbook at or order a copy by calling the information line. The workbook is an essential tool of many smoking cessation services across the province but more funding is needed to ensure that it is available to all who want to quit.

John Chenery 416-864-9911 ext. 292 | C: 647-293-9911 |