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Take Down Tobacco Day

On Monday April 4th, I spoke in response to a Ministerial statement on Take Down Tobacco Day.  My comments below are on the need to reduce smoking and also the need to reduce exposure to radon in Manitoba.  

Mr. Gerrard: Madam Speaker, today is Take Down Tobacco day, a day when we need to dedicate our­selves to reducing smoking and reducing vaping, parti­cularly that using nicotine, in our province.

      Let's look back for a moment. Manitoba took a major step forward in 2003 and 2004. This included the esta­blish­ment of an all-party com­mit­tee on en­viron­­mental tobacco smoke. The committee found it was time to ban smoking in indoor public places. A bill to achieve this was passed June the 10th, 2004 and came into effect October 2004. The result of this has been a continuing decline in smoking in the years since then, and we thank all those who have helped in this effort to reduce smoking in our province.

      The most recent estimate of the rate of smoking in Manitoba was found to be 14 and a half per cent of Manitobans. Interestingly, the rate of smoking is lower in Manitoba than that in Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, even though the incidence of lung cancer is higher in Manitoba than in the other western provinces. This means we should be looking not only at cigarettes but also at other factors–as an example, the presence of radon gas in people's homes.

      Radon gas can cause lung cancer and can act together with smoking to significantly increase the rate of lung cancer. Manitoba has a higher proportion of homes with high radon levels than the other western provinces. While the gov­ern­ments of Manitoba have focused for the last 20 years on smoking as the principal culprit in causing lung cancer, they've neglected the attention that is needed with respect to addressing the high radon levels in many Manitoba homes.

      Manitoba Liberals strongly support reducing smoking and vaping in Manitoba, parti­cularly among our youth. We also believe it is critical to address and reduce the high levels of radon in far too many Manitoba homes.

      Thank you. Merci. Miigwech.

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