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Healthy communities support the reduction of tobacco and tobacco-like product misuse by establishing bylaws, increasing community awareness, and making resources and programs available to protect people from the harms of tobacco, both first and second hand.

Prohibiting tobacco use in multi-unit dwellings can help protect non-smoking residents from frequent exposure to second-hand smoke. Prohibiting smoking in outdoor public places such as sports grounds and picnic areas may also reduce exposure of children to tobacco products and second-hand smoke. Tobacco taxation policies, eliminating product placement/displays at retail check-outs, and restricting sales to a given area, or areas have been highly successful in reducing smoking rates among Albertans1.

Tobacco use is the leading risk factor for many kinds of cancer and a cause of other chronic conditions especially respiratory. A recent Alberta study estimated that approximately 2,500 cancer cases in Alberta in 2012 could be attributed to tobacco2.

Traditional tobacco use

Indigenous peoples have been using tobacco for centuries and for many purposes. Traditionally, tobacco is a respected ceremonial tool used in a variety of ways for healing and in spiritual practices, among other uses. Early government policies enacted to remove First Nations’ people from their land, and the institution of mandatory Residential School attendance initiated a gradual, yet decisive erosion of a traditional, healthy way of being. The ceremonial use of tobacco was denigrated. Decades of inadequate social and living conditions - the social determinants of health – have created the environments conducive to harmful risk behaviours such as the mis-use of commercial tobacco.

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Resources

Explore programs, organization, tools and resources to reduce tobacco use