Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health makes a very persuasive argument about the devastating impact of cigarette smoking. I noticed an ad in a newspaper today entitled "Let's Sponsor the Health of Our Kid" which went on to state a number of facts.
It said that in Canada each year 256,000 young people start smoking on average at age 14. Half of these young people will smoke all their lives. One in every five deaths is caused by smoking. Smoking related diseases cost the Canadian health care system $3.5 billion. As many as three million Canadians alive today will die from tobacco related causes.
If that in fact is the case, if that is the impact of cigarette smoking in Canada and if the minister is being sincere, surely cigarettes ought to be banned. The importation and sale of cigarettes should be illegal.
The ad goes on to ask the reader to support anti-tobacco legislation. That is misleading. Bill C-71 is not anti-tobacco. It does not ban or prohibit the importation and sale of cigarettes, cigars or any other form of tobacco.
If the government and the Minister of Health were making this case in terms of the devastating impact of cigarette smoking, if one in every five deaths is caused by smoking and smoking related diseases cost the Canadian health care system $3.5 billion, to be consistent they have a legal and moral responsibility to ban tobacco. By simply banning advertising on sport cars and at cultural events is not good enough.
The Minister of Health is either sincere or, as he said earlier today, he should go all the way as opposed to huffing and puffing.