Moving Toward a Tobacco-Free Nova Scotia is an ambitious strategy aimed at decreasing smoking rates across the province by targeting younger smokers so they never light up for the first time.
As much as government deserves a pat on the back for going after the youngest Nova Scotians, it is going to face a tough sell considering far too many young people still consider smoking cool. Despite the best efforts of the province there still remains an ample supply of illegal, contraband cigarettes that threaten the harpoon any strategy or plan government comes up with.
The new tobacco strategy plans to build on the successes of previous plans that, among other things, banned smoking in public establishments such as bars and restaurants and changing how cigarettes and tobacco products are advertised by eliminating the so-called power walls of cigarettes behind the counter in convenience stores.
Over the next five years, the province wants to reduce the smoking rate among 20-24 year olds by 20 per cent and reduce the number of teens, ages 15-19, smoking from 15 per cent to 10 per cent .
It’s also going to explore legislation that will help with smoking reduction efforts, expand treatment options and programs for those wanting to quit and focusing on the behaviour of the tobacco industry by looking at sales to minors compliance rates and tobacco advertising.
Over the last decade, smoking rates have declined to the point that it’s mostly the hard-core smokers that continue to light up. Despite these best efforts, though, tobacco remains the number one preventable cause of disease in Nova Scotia. Yes, those nine-foot-tall dinosaurs and artifact boxes that have been making their way around the province are effective at demonstrating that smoking is a thing of the past.
Unfortunately, the fact remains that children and teens who want to smoke still find it too easy to find tobacco. Even if corner stores are completely compliant there’s still a way where there’s a will to do it and the abundance of contraband tobacco easily fills the void.