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BC Health Minister mulls raising smoking age to 21 during National Non-Smoking Week

One of Canada’s longest-running public health events is back for its 40th year this week.

National Non-Smoking Week kicked off on Sunday and BC Health Minister Terry Lake is encouraging British Columbians who want to quit smoking to talk to their doctor.

“I know from my family history that this is a very strong addiction to try and escape from. I saw my parents and my siblings struggle with it. The help of the Smoking Cessation Program, I think, goes a long way to help people achieve their goals and live a smoke free lifestyle.”

Lake says the province’s Smoking Cessation Program has seen real success.

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“Over 230,000 British Columbians have used the program. It now has more variety in terms of product choices. There’s nicotine gum, there’s lozenges, inhalers, patches and, of course, prescription medications that can be used to help people quit.”

But he says the best tool in the fight against tobacco use is preventing people from picking up the habit in the first place.

“We see jurisdictions in the United States that have actually raised the smoking age to 21 and that in fact has resulted in fewer young people starting the habit which, of course, is key to preventing that long-term addiction.”

He says he’s interested to hear what British Columbians have to say on the subject.

Would you support raising the minimum age to buy cigarettes to 21?

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