Tobacco Info

From Tobacco Info No. 10 - August 2012
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World Cancer Congress

The Quebec Cancer Foundation, McGill University and the Université de Montréal will host the 2012 World Cancer Congress at the Palais des congrès in Montreal from August 27 to 30. The World Cancer Congress is a biennial event organized by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), a global NGO headquartered in Geneva.

The four-day Congress will be organized around four themes: prevention and early detection; cancer care and survivorship; palliative care and pain control; and global systems for surveillance, advocacy, fundraising, and support. There will be nine plenary speakers, including Dr. John Seffrin, CEO of the American Cancer Society, and Dr. Haik Nikogosian, Head of the Convention Secretariat for the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In addition to the plenary speeches, there will be panel discussions on each themed track addressing the many challenges for those working in tobacco control and cancer treatment.

Three thousand participants from over 120 countries are expected to attend the UICC World Cancer Congress, whose theme is “Connecting for Global Impact”. A highlight for participants will be the panel presentation on Australia’s plain packaging legislation, which will cover various aspects of the reform, including the research foundation and legal challenges.

For more information and to register, visit


Brazil bans tobacco additives

Brazil has set a global precedent by passing new regulations that ban the use of additives and flavourings in tobacco products. The extensive list of banned flavourings includes menthol, clove, honey, cherry, chocolate, and other flavours added to sweeten tobacco. The list of banned additives includes ammonia, sweeteners, colours, and vitamins.

According to Paula Johns, chair of the Framework Convention Alliance and director of ACT Brazil, “This global precedent will certainly inspire other countries and was a critical step in limiting the tobacco industry’s tactics for luring young people to start smoking.”

The measure was passed by Brazil’s National Health Surveillance Agency. Tobacco manufacturers have 18 months to take flavoured cigarettes off the Brazilian market and 24 months to remove flavourings in other tobacco products.


New host for GLOBALink

On May 1, the GLOBALink e-news service for global tobacco control changed ownership, moving from the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), which had provided the valuable service for the past decade, to the National Heart Forum (NHF).

The NHF is a charitable alliance of 65 organizations in the United Kingdom. The NHF mandate is to work for the prevention of coronary heart disease, as well as related conditions such as cancer, stroke, and diabetes.

Under the UICC, GLOBALink provided daily e-bulletins to subscribers, by topic, on the latest tobacco-related news and research. In contrast, the NHF produces a weekly email called “GLOBALink Updates,” as well as two bi-monthly emails: RITA (Research in Tobacco Abstracts) consists of recent peer-reviewed research and TINA (Tobacco in News Articles) provides links to the latest in international tobacco-related news.


20,100 deaths by lung cancer

Cancer remains the primary cause of death in Canada, but less Canadians are dying from cancer, according to the 26th edition of Canadian Cancer Statistics 2012, produced in May by the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS).

Despite declining cancer rates, tobacco remains responsible for one in three cancer-related deaths and 85 per cent of lung cancers. Lung cancer, according to the CCS report, will kill 20,100 Canadians in 2012, while breast cancer will claim 5,200 lives, or four times less than lung cancer.

The good news? The decreasing number of smokers is also causing the number of cancer-related deaths to drop. In 1994, 29 per cent of Canadians aged 15 or older smoked, while only 17 per cent smoked by the year 2010. During this period, lung cancer rates among men fell by roughly 2 per cent each year. Unfortunately, the same decline has not occurred among women, where lung cancer rates have remained relatively stable. The reason for the gap between men and women is simple: smoking prevalence among women began to drop in the 1980s, twenty years later than when male prevalence began its steady decline.

In addition to lung cancer, smoking increases the incidence of many other cancers, including cancer of the larynx, mouth, stomach and kidney.

To further reduce these diseases, the CCS recommends that the Canadian government intensifies its fight against smoking. Specifically, the organization founded in 1938 recommends the introduction of plain packaging for tobacco products; the prohibition of smoking on patios, playgrounds, and parks; and increased tobacco taxes.


Quebec’s $60 billion lawsuit

On June 8, Quebec Justice Minister Jean-Marc Fournier and Health and Social Services Minister Yves Bolduc announced that the Quebec government has filed a $60 billion healthcare recovery lawsuit against Big Tobacco for compensation for the treatment of diseases caused by tobacco.

With the announcement, Quebec becomes the sixth province to file a lawsuit against tobacco companies, joining BC, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland. On May 31, Manitoba and Saskatchewan used the occasion of World No Tobacco Day to announce they have passed legislation in preparation for filing their own healthcare recovery suits.

The $60 billion suit is the largest lawsuit filed in Canadian history, eclipsing Ontario’s $50 billion lawsuit filed in 2010.