A new tobacco strategy will re-ignite efforts to decrease smoking rates across the province, says Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald, who launched the five-year plan today, April 27. “With the support of our partners, this tobacco strategy will allow us to move even further in reducing our tobacco-use rates among all age groups in Nova Scotia,” said Ms. MacDonald. Moving Toward a Tobacco-Free Nova Scotia builds on the successes Nova Scotia achieved with the 2001 tobacco control strategy that banned smoking in public establishments. “We looked at how far we have already come, listened to what health partners said we need to do and together, and are moving forward in our efforts to reduce tobacco-use,” said Dr. Strang, Nova Scotia’s Chief Public Health Officer. “Reducing tobacco-use is a community effort.” Over the next five years, through the tobacco strategy, the province will: aim to reduce the smoking rate among 20-24 year olds to 20 per cent by 2015-16 focus on the behaviour of the tobacco industry in Nova Scotia by looking at sales to minors compliance rates and tobacco advertising aim to reduce the number of teens (15 to 19) smoking from 15 per cent to 10 per cent. explore legislation to help smoking reduction efforts. expand the range of effective, comprehensive treatment options for tobacco users by complementing community-based counselling programs Maureen Summers, executive director for the Canadian Cancer Society, said the new tobacco control strategy will place Nova Scotia in the forefront of progressive tobacco control in Canada. “It’s an important achievement that will lead to a reduction in tobacco consumption rates for Nova Scotians, this means that fewer people will start smoking, more individuals will be supported to quit, and fewer Nova Scotians will be diagnosed with cancer as a result,” said Ms. Summers. “Tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in Nova Scotia,” said Mike DeRosenroll, president of Smoke-Free Nova Scotia. “This strategy, with its twin emphasis on holding the tobacco industry to account and helping more Nova Scotians stop smoking, is an excellent plan to reduce this death toll.” A key part of the strategy is the tobacco anti-smoking social-marketing campaign, launched in January, to change the way teens think about smoking. Nine-foot-tall dinosaurs and artifact boxes have visited more than 70 locations, including schools, arenas and places where youth frequent, to demonstrate to youth that smoking is a thing of the past. The new comprehensive tobacco control strategy can be viewed at: www.gov.ns.ca/hpp/cdip/tobacco-control.asp .