smokingMedical Officer of Health Dr. Jim Chirico says an increase in the minimum legal age for access to tobacco products would have an impact smoking rates.

He’s commenting after the Association of Local Public Health Agencies passed a resolution calling for a hike in the minimum legal age to 21 years old. 

Dr. Chirico says more than 13,000 people die in Ontario of tobacco-related diseases a year, making it the number one cause of preventable deaths.  Plus, he says it costs taxpayers about $7.5 billion in direct and indirect costs.
Dr. Chirico says an increase in the legal age from 19 to 21 will likely result in a 15% reduction in initiation rates of tobacco use by adolescents in the 15 to 17 years of age group.

Meantime, the association is also calling for a national, universal pharmacare program.

Dr. Chirico says Canadians pay among the highest per capita spending on prescription drugs and one in ten Canadians aren’t able to fill a prescription because of the cost.

He says a national, universal pharmacare program would enable all Canadians access to quality, safe and cost-effective medications improve health outcomes and generate costs savings.