The smoke-free home isn’t easy, says Peter Clark, a physician and former chair of the Canadian College of Physicians.
“I know people who have never smoked and they’re doing fine.
But there are people who are struggling and have to quit because they’re sick and they don’t have any protection,” he said.
The Canadian Medical Association, which represents more than 30,000 physicians, says there are more than 600,000 medical conditions linked to smoking in Canada.
And the health-care system is in a shambles.
The association estimates there are nearly 6 million unmet health-service needs, including more than 15,000 conditions that don’t receive adequate treatment, such as lung cancer, tuberculosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, chronic headaches, anxiety and depression.
Chronic conditions and other illnesses account for the majority of deaths among people who smoke, the association says.
And in a poll of more than 5,000 people conducted last fall, more than half said they had smoked.
The survey of 1,100 Canadians was conducted online and by phone between Aug. 25 and Sept. 9, using a panel of 1-to-3,000 respondents from across the country.
The results showed that almost half of those polled had smoked, with 30 per cent saying they did so regularly.
More than two-thirds of respondents said they smoked because of health concerns, and almost a third said they were not comfortable smoking indoors.
In a recent report, the National Health and Medical Research Council of Canada found that about 2.3 million people were living with smoking-related conditions in Canada, with about half living in rural areas.
A third of them were aged 25 and older, with many suffering from chronic lung disease.
“These are young people, many of whom have never been exposed to smoke, who are in very vulnerable circumstances,” said Dr. David C. Bouchard, chief of the division of chronic lung diseases at the University of Toronto’s SickKids Centre.
“They need to be able to smoke safely and safely and responsibly, and it’s a challenge for them to do that.”
Bouchatt also notes that there are many barriers to smoke-proofing indoor spaces.
Many smoke in public spaces, which can lead to indoor smoking and indoor air pollution.
“It’s a very complex problem, and you can’t solve it without having a comprehensive public health strategy,” he added.
Some cities are trying to get the public on board by banning smoking in some areas.
“The idea is that we can build more smoke-resistant structures, and they’ll be more resilient to the effects of smoke,” said Paul Pomerleau, a professor at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.
“But we’ve got to have a whole different strategy.”
Boulton said a key challenge is to develop public health strategies that work across jurisdictions and that include both smokers and non-smokers.
“We don’t want to do the same thing, and we don’t think that the public health response to smoking should be the same for everybody,” he says.
“That’s not a realistic strategy.”
The Canadian Public Health Association, an industry association, estimates there is more than $1.3 billion in federal funding for smoke- and alcohol-free facilities across Canada.
In the meantime, there are several other strategies for smokers.
First, it’s about having more options for smoking.
“There’s no one smoking-free program, but it’s pretty clear we need a smoke-friendly program,” Boulthart said.
“You’re getting better at smoking and getting rid of cigarettes, and that’s the best thing we can do.”
Another is educating people about their health and about their right to smoke.
“What we need is a system where people can understand that their rights are being respected,” he explained.
“This is a right of citizenship, and if you don’t feel like you’re in compliance, you can quit.”
For the healthiest people, the biggest challenge, said Dr