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Smoking at 21: calls to raise the legal minimum age
Politicians, community groups, and educators are pushing for the provincial government to take strong steps toward eliminating the use of tobacco.
They include increasing the sales taxes on tobacco, increasing the minimum legal age to use tobacco to 21, and banning smoking in parks, greenspaces, and on beaches.
Montreal councillor Marvin Rotrand is leading the coalition of a dozen councillors and mayors across the city and its suburbs, and 12 community groups such as the Cummings Centre, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Montreal Pedestrians.
He began pushing for more stringent regulations this summer, and has sent the message to Quebec's Health Minister Danielle McCann, saying it would go hand-in-hand with the CAQ's desire to set the legal age for cannabis consumption at 21.
McCann's press attache said she's been made aware of the coalition's demands and said she will look at them.
"We know that the government said they're looking at raising the age at which you can use cannabis. We would consider it a lost opportunity of a gigantic scale if at the same time we didn't act on tobacco," said Rotrand.
Rotrand said with healthcare cost of smokers rising to $4 billion in Quebec, it's time to make changes.
The Mayor of Montreal West, Beny Masella, said he wants to see a province-wide ban so that the rules are universal, and smokers don't end up moving out of one neighbourhood that has banned smoking and moving into another.
Masella, who is also a pharmacist, said he sees daily the negative consequences of people who are addicted to tobacco.