House of Commons Hansard #56 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was tobacco.

Topics

Tobacco Products
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—East Richmond
Nova Scotia

Liberal

David Dingwall Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, we are all aware on this side of the House of the personal interest of the hon. member opposite with regard to the regulations I have put in place under the federal drug act.

With respect to the issue of tobacco, let me be clear. Tobacco is a very serious health issue. We have a decision of the Supreme Court of Canada with which we must contend. We are presently in the process of completing our consultations. We hope to come back to Parliament fairly soon with a comprehensive package which will address many of the concerns expressed by the hon. member and by a variety of interest groups across the country.

Business
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Alex Shepherd Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Finance.

During the late 1980s small and medium size businesses watched their credit lines being indiscriminately pulled, often forcing businesses to close and long term employees to lose their jobs.

How will the advent of a national banking ombudsman protect small and medium size businesses and jobs now and in the future?

Business
Oral Question Period

2:55 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's question is very pertinent. It forms an important part of the overall plan to help small and medium size business create jobs. The industry ombudsman will serve as a final court of appeal from individual ombudsmen appointed by individual banks.

Businesses must have recourse if they are to be treated fairly. Small business wants impartiality, objectivity, transparency and uniformity in the handling of its applications for credit. That is what small business wants and that is really the system that the overall ombudsman will ensure small business will have at its disposal.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

June 4th, 1996 / 3 p.m.

Reform

Jim Hart Okanagan—Similkameen—Merritt, BC

Mr. Speaker, a point of order. During question period the Minister

of National Defence asked that I table documents regarding an access to information that I received dated March 15, 1995 regarding the special investigations unit.

I ask for unanimous consent to table the document.

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

The Speaker

Is there unanimous consent to table the document?

Points Of Order
Oral Question Period

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-24, an act to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The parliamentary secretary has 26 minutes remaining in his intervention.

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3 p.m.

Eglinton—Lawrence
Ontario

Liberal

Joe Volpe Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I will try to speak over the din of the crowd and proceed with the debate on Bill C-24.

Just before question period I was addressing the shared responsibilities of the stakeholders and all interested parties in the control of tobacco consumption everywhere. I indicated that some of the areas involved different levels of government, schools, parents and smokers. I left off by indicating that the federal government is committed to providing leadership in this area. Perhaps I could resume the debate on that theme.

I realize that all members' attention is riveted on the debate. The government will continue to participate in consultations and to collaborate with its partners in the national strategy to reduce tobacco use, along with the provincial and territorial governments and a wide range of health groups.

Partners in the national strategy recognize that there is no simple or easy solution to the problem. To be effective, solutions will need to be multifaceted and will need to be based on collaboration. The proposed plan of action meets these criteria.

On December 11, 1995, the government tabled Bill C-117 which was reintroduced in this session as Bill C-24. At that time we tabled a document entitled "Tobacco Control-A Blueprint to Protect the Health of Canadians". That document sets out the government's proposed approach to tobacco control in response to the Supreme Court decision.

The overall objective is clearly stated in the blueprint, specifically, to reduce tobacco consumption among Canadians and the adverse health effects that it causes. This objective is supported by three broad legislative goals.

First, to protect the health of Canadians in light of conclusive evidence implicating tobacco use in the incidence of numerous debilitating and fatal diseases.

Second, to protect young people and others to the extent it is reasonable in a free and democratic society from inducements to use tobacco products and consequent dependence on them.

Third, to enhance public awareness of the hazards of tobacco use by ensuring effective communication of pertinent information about tobacco products and their use. The blueprint document reflects the government's recognition that because millions of Canadians are addicted to tobacco products, these products cannot simply be made illegal and banned from the marketplace.

The Supreme Court recognized that a prohibition on the sale or consumption of tobacco would not be a practical, public policy option, given the addictive nature of tobacco products. Rather, the tobacco control measures under consideration must necessarily focus on reducing the demand for tobacco products.

I can confirm that there is a consensus in the health community that, given the addictive nature of nicotine, it is better to concentrate our efforts on preventing experimentation and uptake rather than try to overcome that addiction. Because very few people start to smoke after their teenage years, tobacco control efforts must focus on dissuading youth from experimenting.

The recent data that shows increases in youth smoking, as my colleague opposite wanted to indicate earlier, in various regions of Canada lend urgency to the development of a legislative response.

Since the advertising and promotion of tobacco products influence not only brand choice but also the perceptions of the products and the disposition to using the product, there is clear need to counter the effective advertising and promotion that results in experimentation and addiction among youth who appear to be especially susceptible to product advertising and promotion. Furthermore, because the demand for tobacco products is influenced by other marketing activities like retail merchandising, packaging, product design, these areas must also be addressed in order to achieve the stated health goals.

The complex social, economic and health issues surrounding tobacco use suggest the need for a comprehensive, mutually reinforcing set of strategies. It is important to ensure that any legislative initiative be consistent with and complementary to the ongoing public education and awareness programs that are part of the larger federal strategy as well as the broad policy thrusts in other areas of federal activity.

Similarly, the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy must be consistent with related municipal-provincial-territorial activities and legislation. The tobacco control blueprint outlines a comprehensive set of measures that would establish the conditions and requirements under which tobacco products would be manufactured, sold and marketed in Canada.

The measures under consideration include, first, the most comprehensive restrictions possible on advertising. The government is committed to providing the necessary information to support the most comprehensive prohibition on advertising possible, always taking into account the guidance of the Supreme Court and our concerns for protecting youth from the inducements to smoke. Second, it would include restrictions on other promotional activities, and third, a comprehensive set of ground rules for sponsorship promotion. I see that my colleague from Haldimand-Norfolk is in complete agreement.

I want to make it clear that the government is not proposing to ban the sponsorship of cultural and support groups and philanthropic activities by tobacco companies, quite the contrary. Such companies can and should support cultural and sporting events that they consider to be worthwhile. What the government objects to is sponsorship promotion of tobacco products and their use.

The measures set out in the blueprint document for sponsorship promotion include, among others, prohibiting the use of brand names and logos on non-tobacco items associated with an event or activity, prohibiting the incorporation of brands names or logos into the name of a sponsored activity or event, prohibiting testimonials and personal endorsements, and requiring health messages on all sponsorship advertising and signs.

The blueprint document also proposes to further reduce the likelihood of easy access to tobacco products by minors by eliminating self-service tobacco product displays and mail order sales. It proposes to restrict point of sale promotional activities, such as in-store advertising, promotion and product display. It also proposes to require additional new packaging and labelling requirements that would control package information and prohibit false and misleading claims on that packaging. Finally, it proposes to expand reporting requirements for tobacco manufacturers, distributors and importers to regulate tobacco products, their constituents and tobacco smoke emissions.

I might emphasize that consultation is continuing with interested parties on the impact of the blueprint measures on the health of Canadians and tobacco and collateral industries supported by tobacco funding.

This legislation, together with the research and public education components of the tobacco demand reduction strategy, will strengthen efforts to counter the ill-effects of tobacco consumption in Canada.

Given the unique problems associated with tobacco use, the government is developing tobacco specific legislation which will again make Canada a leader in the battle against the health effects of tobacco consumption. The bill before the House today is the government's first legislative response aimed at redressing the legal problems identified by the Supreme Court's ruling. It is the important first step in the overall action plan.

The amendments to the Tobacco Products Control Act in Bill C-24 are straightforward and vital to the health goals. Through Bill C-24 the government is reinstating the requirement to display health messages on tobacco products and in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court of Canada, is giving the tobacco companies the option of attributing health messages on tobacco packaging to Health Canada.

We know from studies conducted by the Department of Health that despite an awareness of the general health affects of tobacco use, Canadians lack knowledge about the specific health consequences of that tobacco use. Knowledge about specific health consequences is important because it may result in a better appreciation of the harmful affects of smoking.

I acknowledge that the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council released a voluntary packaging and advertising code in December 1995 that continues to use health messages with an attribution to Health Canada although in a different format than that set out in the regulations that were made inoperative by the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Tobacco companies want to return to the format of the health messages that were used prior to 1994 before it was improved to make messages more visible and readable. The code requires that health messages be on advertisements. Despite that, within days of the release of that code, advertisements without health warnings, whose art work and designs were obviously targeted to youth, were placed within 200 metres of schools, violating the code. That code is both insufficient and unenforceable. Its pre-clearance and review processes are not subject to public scrutiny. It does not impose any sanctions on those who fail to comply with it. It is clear that public, transparent and forcible regulatory controls are required if we are to meet our health goals. That is what Bill C-24 begins to put in place.

What Canadians need is a legislative framework that will control the manufacture, sale and marketing of tobacco products in this country. They need legislative measures to protect youth from

inducements to using tobacco products. This government intends to provide Canadians with that framework.

Bill C-24 is a vital first step toward a safer and healthier country for all Canadians. I am sure all colleagues on both sides of the House will join with me in supporting the amendments listed under Bill C-24. I thank you for your attention and support.

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

Just a word of clarification. The Chair does not support any speaker. The Chair supports all speakers, none in particular.

Tobacco Products Control Act
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3:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, knowing the rules of the House as I do, I did not want to implicate the Speaker in any of the urgings for support. I used the English generic "you" which applies to all members in the House who have the right to vote.

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3:15 p.m.

Reform

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the parliamentary secretary's comments on tobacco. We share some opinions on this subject.

Going back to my training in medical school, the very first patient assigned to me was a fellow in a veterans hospital. They would not turn us loose on just anyone and I was turned loose on this wonderful fellow who had emphysema. He and I became fairly close. I spent lots of time with him and even went in on the weekends to talk with him. He had been a heavy smoker and really had that disease directly as a result of tobacco.

As we became closer and related one to the other, it was obvious he was coming close to death. During his last few lucid moments he said to me: "Do not let the kids start to smoke". I will never forget that. It had an impact on me throughout my medical career.

I look at legislation and the efforts of the government in that light. What will those efforts do in relation to keeping the kids from smoking? Looking back at the record on smoking in Canada we see it is pretty good. The prevalence of smoking has been going down for about the past 25 years. It has been dropping at a nice steady rate. Almost 50 per cent of Canada's population used to smoke and it is now down to pretty close to 30 per cent.

However, that nice smooth flow downward has had a tick upward. The tick upward can be directly related to a change in tobacco prices in Canada. I know the price was changed to try to cut down on smuggling. However, the price sensitivity for our youth caused them to smoke more. In one year, we lost five years of a drop in smoking prevalence. That is a record which I do not think my colleague across the way should be proud of. It is one he should hang his head on. I hope he can right that loss of five years of prevalence drop we had in one year.

Bill C-24 is designed to bring back the labelling that could have been lost with the change in the judicial action on the Tobacco Products Control Act. This bill is a status quo bill except that the warnings will be attributed, if the tobacco companies agree, to Health Canada.

What about the blueprint? The blueprint was presented to the Canadian public with a significant amount of fanfare. The previous health minister, not so long ago in December last year held a major press conference wherein she announced the blueprint. I remember well she said: "I have new information that will withstand any court challenge, new information that will prove that advertising of tobacco products really is bad news".

I thought that was great. I wrote to the health minister literally that week asking for the new data. If I remember the words that I used, I said that I would like to become a slobbering supporter of the blueprint. Possibly my choice of words was a little flippant but what I wanted to say was that I would love to be an enthusiastic supporter of the blueprint.

Nothing came. There was no reply. I could understand if the minister had said that she did not want this information to be used for political purposes and that she would release it at the appropriate time. I can understand the minister saying that it was in process, but I did not get a response.

The new minister came along. I sent the new minister my congratulatory letter. It is polite in Parliament to write a letter to the new minister. I said: "Congratulations for your new responsibilities. I hope we will have a long and productive life together and an interesting interchange. Please could you provide me with the new data that was suggested at the press conference, this exciting new data that will withstand a court challenge? I want to be an enthusiastic supporter of the blueprint".

I did get a response, after about three months. It was not immediate. I did not get the reaction I had hoped, but I did get a personal response from the minister who said: "We can meet together possibly in late June to go over the data so that you can understand. This is complex." At least there has been some response.

I read in press reports today that there is some problem with the blueprint while the government is finishing its homework. I am puzzled by this. Usually when there is a major press conference, usually when there is a big time announcement, usually they have done their homework first. The current minister said: "It would be foolhardy to move forward without having done our homework. Unfortunately it was not done when I arrived".

I am puzzled. This is a government with massive resources, a government with research capabilities par excellence. I have gone into the data and cannot and have not yet found the information that was promised to me. I have done my own research. I do not have those huge research capabilities. I wonder, going back to that press

conference, was the homework really done or was it an announcement to make someone look better?

The parliamentary secretary has eloquently talked about the health warnings, the addictive nature of smoking, the health problems and that it is highly complex. I wrote these words down as he was going through his address. There is a powerful lobby of printers, artists, the tobacco companies and the health interests. There are big bucks involved and lots of money involved with taxes. Indeed it is a complex subject. Still on tobacco products in Canada we warn of the health risks.

I am also puzzled because recently Bill C-222, by the member for Mississauga South, was before the health committee. This bill was also about health warnings, different warnings on booze, on alcohol. I could go through the list of issues that are related to tobacco and apply them to alcohol: addictive nature, health problems, highly complex, powerful lobby, big bucks. I think those things fit with the alcohol industry.

The member for Mississauga South put forth compelling evidence that fetal alcohol syndrome where there is an innocent bystander could well be affected by health warnings, yet the health warnings were scrubbed on alcohol. The previous minister in this case was strongly supportive. I do not know if the present minister caved in to pressures outside the health interests. I can only presume that. In the press release that came from the department the principle of this bill was supported but the mechanism was uncertain. It is a subtle change in wording but I am not convinced. If labels work for smokes, labels should work for booze.

If Bill C-24 passes intellectual scrutiny as the parliamentary secretary so eloquently stated, then Bill C-222 concerning warning labels on alcohol in reference to fetal alcohol syndrome should also. I ask my colleagues across the way, where is the consistency?

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3:25 p.m.

Vancouver Centre
B.C.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Secretary of State (Multiculturalism)(Status of Women)

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me as the member of Parliament for Vancouver Centre and as a physician to speak in support of Bill C-24.

Members have heard the hon. parliamentary secretary speak about the details of the bill. On the surface it might seem the bill is just about labelling and information but it is more than that. This bill is more than simple words on a piece of paper or on a bit of cardboard. It is about what those words say. It is about what those words mean and how important those words are to the user of this product.

What those words describe is what I want to discuss during my time in this debate. Let me start with a short list: carbon monoxide, lead, hydrogen cyanide, benzene, arsenic. These are all deadly components. Each one of them can kill. They are just five of the more than 4,000 chemical compounds scientists have found in tobacco smoke. They are just five of the compounds that contribute to the over 40,000 deaths a year caused by tobacco use.

How do these Canadians die? They die of lung cancer, bladder cancer, heart disease, aneurysms, pneumonia, emphysema, sudden infant death syndrome and fire. There are over 22 diseases associated with smoking and the effects of smoking know no age barrier. Health Canada estimates that the dangers of low birth weight and chronic respiratory illness show that smoking affects the fetus in utero. About 200 infants under the age of one died in 1991 as a result of exposure to tobacco smoke, secondhand smoke. Death from cancer is no surprise because tobacco smoke contains more than 50 known carcinogens. Lung cancer has now overtaken breast cancer as the number one cause of death among women.

The health impact goes further. Scientists have discovered that other chemical compounds found in tobacco smoke actually cause permanent changes to the genetic material of living cells and hence to the fetus. These compounds come from a variety of sources. About half of these compounds appear naturally in green tobacco leaves. The other half comes from the chemical reactions that come from combustion. Some compounds are produced as part of the curing of tobacco.

Smokers may not realize that when they look at the smoke curling up from their cigarettes what they see constitutes less than 10 per cent of the output of that cigarette. What they do not see is more frightening, the gases and even liquids produced by the burning tobacco and the paper.

We need to tell Canadians about the impact of these toxic compounds on their bodies. We need to tell them about the carbon monoxide produced when tobacco burns, this colourless, odourless gas that kills because it starves the body of oxygen.

A cigarette is an incinerator producing hundreds of chemicals, including tar, cancer causing tar, as it should be rightly known. We need to tell Canadians that cancer causing tar in tobacco products contains hundreds of chemicals, some of which are actually hazardous waste. We need to inform Canadians their bodies are not and should not be toxic waste dumps.

The list of toxic constituents in cigarettes goes on and on. We need to tell Canadians about ammonia. It may be great for household training but it could increase the odds of getting viral illness, and so it does with smokers. It can aggravate chronic respiratory conditions in both a smoker and those around a smoker breathing in that second hand smoke.

We need to tell Canadians about hydrogen cyanide. This is among the most toxic of the components in the witch's brew that comes out of tobacco smoke. Short term exposure to hydrogen cyanide can lead to headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, and yet we continue to do this in small amounts every day when we smoke cigarettes.

We need to tell Canadians about lead. We know how much governments have tried to cut lead emissions because of the harm they can cause children. Lead is found in tobacco smoke to which children are exposed. As we have made laws and regulations as governments to get rid of lead in the environment, lesser known sources of lead become very important. One of these sources is cigarettes.

Not only smokers but children living with smokers have shown to have elevated blood levels. Canadian children are being exposed daily to a substance that has been linked to sudden infant death syndrome, low birth weight, birth defects, allergies, learning problems, chronic respiratory disease and adult asthma.

The information we now have on the toxic constituents of tobacco products is the result of a generation of research. We are learning every day more and more about the hazardous effects of this product. Research projects funded by the tobacco demand reduction strategy, which examined the trends over the last 25 years of the nicotine content of cigarettes and in tobacco smoke using cigarette samples that have been collected and stored over the past two decades, have shown us that between 1968 and 1989 the level of nicotine in tobacco used in cigarettes has increased by 53 per cent. The average amount of tobacco used in each cigarette has decreased by 14 per cent. The level of nicotine in tobacco smoke fluctuated significantly at several points during the study period.

Other trends in the marketing of tobacco products have affected the level of exposure of smokers to other toxic substances. The cigarette filter was the first of these trends. Some of my hon. colleagues may remember a time when most cigarettes were unfiltered. It was hardly surprising that most people found them harsh and hard on the throat. Filters have been introduced, some with flavours such as menthol. However, we must not forget that tobacco smoke is harsh. It is a chemical soup that is bad for everyone.

Another important trend in the growth of tobacco products is the so-called light or low yield cigarettes which reduce the amount of smoke inhaled by smokers. On the surface this would seem to be a terrific thing. The less smokers inhale, obviously the lower the risk. It is not that simple. These light cigarettes may encourage people to keep smoking and even to smoke more. They can appear to be healthier than other tobacco products. By picking up any American magazine we can see that light cigarettes are marketed in a manner that creates the appearance the manufacturer is trying to address the concerns of smokers about health issues and to reach out to women. The recent books, articles and exposés about tobacco marketing point this out again and again, and yet this attempt to confuse the facts continues to this day.

The survey of smoking in Canada funded by the Health Canada tobacco demand reduction strategy shows that smokers make certain assumptions about a cigarette that is labelled as light. The survey of smoking in Canada found that slightly less than 35 per cent of Canadian smokers assumed that light means less tar. About 45 per cent believed that light means less nicotine. They may be right in some cases but they may not be in others. If there is any reduction it is marginal at best.

Smoking a light or mild cigarette is like jumping off a 20 storey building instead of a 30 storey building. The result is the same. Light and mild are just marketing subjective terms referring to taste and aroma and have no real meaning at all from a health perspective.

The perception that mild cigarettes may be safer points out an important issue in the debate. How should we regulate tobacco products so they can say what they mean so the user is fully and objectively informed of the product itself?

Some people have suggested we should bring in legislation that limits tobacco to certain amounts of tar and nicotine. In effect they want us to enforce a certain degree of lightness for all tobacco products. Research into smoking behaviour suggests regulating the lightness of cigarettes might have the opposite effect. It can lull smokers into believing they can take comfort from the fact that each cigarette would have a lower quantity of the bad stuff in it, they can smoke more and be no worse off than they are now. Some people might even take up smoking under the mistaken and potentially tragic belief it was now safe to do so because the cigarette is so light.

A variety of methods will be needed if we as a society are to understand and address the reasons so many people smoke. We need to appreciate that people smoke for reasons that appear to be rooted in psychological and socio-environmental factors, as well as the physiological addiction to nicotine.

However, product and outcome information is an important element in helping smokers stop smoking. That is the point of Bill C-24. Information is not always enough. It is only one part of a comprehensive public health approach to smoking cessation. It does and has helped many Canadians give up tobacco and deterred young Canadians from starting to smoke. Information will continue to help Canadians to understand the facts about tobacco disease. Understanding what they are smoking and what they are putting into their mouths is very important in understanding how it can harm them.

If the health warnings the bill makes possible encourage even a few people a day to follow through and quit smoking, they are achieving their purposes. We will do more research and gather more evidence about the impact of tobacco smoke on the human body. As we do this we can use the mechanisms set up in Bill C-24 in our warnings against users to improve and increase the kind of information on the packages. This bill is only the start.

Under the blueprint for tobacco control the government has indicated a number of measures and approaches within a comprehensive strategy which are worth considering. Do not forget, looking at tobacco cessation is part of a general public health strategy. Public health strategies deal with prevention, education, awareness, information, treatment of disease, rehabilitation from the disease. This is part of a major comprehensive strategy to look at the use of tobacco. The toxic constituents of tobacco smoke will therefore continue to be part of that information arsenal we must employ.

I know members will say the information may seem like the same old message. It is not. Health researchers have learned more and more about tobacco since the first time we put messages on the tobacco packages. We know far more about smoking and what it does to our health. We can now confirm that smoking is bad for the smoker but, even worse, smoking is just as bad for the non-smoker.

It is very important to note that 350 non-smoking Canadians a year die due to diseases caused by second hand smoke. Every year over 40,000 Canadians, over 3 million smokers in the world, die as a result of tobacco smoking; 5,000 people a year in my province of British Columbia alone die as a result of smoking. We see all the morbidity and the disease which cost the health care substantial amounts as people are smoking more and more.

Getting that information to the smoker and the non-smoker, the lethal negative issues of this product, is extremely important. One of the ways we can do it is through health warnings on cigarette packages. This would be a step in the right direction. Placing labels on and inserts in cigarette packages is an important public health initiative. It is an important part of education and prevention strategies. I urge all hon. members to support the bill and to help prevent the most preventable cause of death and disease in the world.

Tobacco Products Control Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Reform

Keith Martin Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, I compliment the hon. member for her fine speech. Factually she is certainly correct. Being a physician, she understands very clearly, personally and scientifically the impact of smoking.

However, I find it absolutely absurd that the government, after 15 years of seeing a decrease in consumption in the country, has entertained legislative proposals that have destroyed the last 15 years of our fight against smoking.

The tobacco tax rollback was the single most important negative piece of legislation that has ever been done in the last 50 years against the health and welfare of Canadians.

The hon. member, a physician, was there as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health at that time. I ask her how she can reconcile her obvious passionate knowledge that smoking is disastrous for people's health with the fact she supported the tobacco tax rollback.

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3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I think that is an excellent question and I thank the hon. member for asking it.

Before I came here, as a physician I was passionate about smoking cessation and anti-smoking legislation and used every single tool in the arsenal I could think of to stop smoking.

What is interesting is that I saw this from the perspective of a physician. When I came to the House of Commons I realized there are many perspectives to legislation and to things we do as a government and as politicians. I realized what we had done by increasing our tobacco taxes to the extent that what we now had was a prohibition versus what was happening in the United States, was we were having the smuggling of cigarettes and young people were beginning to smoke not only because cigarettes were cheap but because they were now smoking something that was exciting. It was a smuggled product, something they should not be using. This presented a totally different perspective and point of view to the whole issue.

We have to try in everything we do to balance effects and counterbalance negative effects. It is like when we push something on one side, we give on the other side. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Balancing those actions in the best interest of the health of Canadians is what we were talking about when we looked at bringing down the tobacco taxes.

However, something very important, which the hon. member did not mention, is that it was the first time a country had slapped a health tax on a manufacturer and put the money back into health. That was one of the things I fought for as well before I came here.