Health Canada through its Tobacco Control Programme provides relevant and timely information to support decision making and the development of effective anti tobacco policies and programs.
The Tobacco Control Programme (TCP) monitors and analyses change in tobacco consumption patterns, public attitudes, retailer behaviour to youth access restrictions, industry practices and the product in support of TCP's programs and mandate.
Understanding Canadian trends in tobacco use is vital to the effective development, implementation and evaluation of tobacco control strategies, policies and programs. The dynamic nature of tobacco use makes it an important risk factor for health requiring ongoing and systematic surveillance. One of the key elements of any tobacco control programme is a regular measurement of the prevalence of tobacco use and amount smoked. Such information is provided by CTUMS for those aged 15 years and older, and the Youth Smoking Survey (YSS), for youth in grades 6-12.
Since 2000, Health Canada has evaluated the impact of health warning messages on cigarette packages on a regular basis. Canada was the first country in the world to implement such strong health warning message labelling on cigarette packages. Recently prepared evaluation reports can be found in this section.
Since 2001 tobacco companies have been required by federal law to provide, to the TCP, annual reports of their wholesale sales of cigarettes, domestic and imported, and fine cut tobacco. These reports are available nationally and provincially for wholesale tobacco sales since 1980.
In November 2005, Health Canada convened a workshop of recognized tobacco control researchers to review and update questions and measures pertaining to tobacco use, using the recommendations from Health Canada's 1994 workshop on Data for Monitoring Tobacco Use. There was consensus among the workshop participants that the 1994 recommendations were continuing to meet our current tobacco use surveillance needs and would continue to do so in the future. In the discussions, it was clear that one distinct set of recommended core questions would not meet all applications. As a result, three levels of question sets were recommended for use in various surveillance and research applications, depending on the depth of information needed on tobacco use behaviours.