Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

Action on Tobacco Control: Action Kit for RNs

Resource Type: 
Political Action

Revised January 2006

This kit provides tools to lobby federal and provincial governments on tobacco legislation and control, and to promote tobacco control initiatives within the community. It includes:

  • A backgrounder on key issues surrounding tobacco legislation and tobacco control.
  • Fact sheets on a variety of topics (e.g., Tobacco Tax, Tobacco and Health, Tobacco and Youth).
  • Sample letters to federal and provincial government to lobby for action on tobacco taxes and other initiatives.
  • A list of some of the key resources (i.e., organizations, web sites) that nurses can access to find out more about tobacco control activities in Canada.
  • Lobbying tips.

RNAO supports tobacco control initiatives within the province and at the national level as part of our mandate to advocate for healthy public policy. This includes support on the practice side through RNAO’s best practice guideline on smoking cessation Integrating Smoking Cessation into Daily Nursing Practice,1 through its e-learning program Helping People Quit Smoking,2 and through its Health Education Fact Sheet Deciding to Quit Smoking.3 RNAO also supports tobacco control through its advocacy work.

RNs play a leadership role in empowering Ontarians to achieve and maintain their optimal health. RNs do this on the tobacco front through practice and advocacy. Through advocacy, RNs will save lives, prevent illness and promote the overall health of Canadians. Our clinical expertise and political action skills put us in a unique position to put these strategies to work.

The Ontario and federal governments have taken a number of positive steps:

  • Ontario has strengthened protection from second-hand tobacco smoke with its 2005 Smoke-Free Ontario Act, and has greatly increased funding for tobacco control.
  • Provincial and federal tax hikes on cigarettes in recent years have helped to undo the damage of tobacco tax cuts in 1994.
  • Ontario along with seven other provinces intervened at the Supreme Court in support of the successful 2005 defence of British Columbia’s tobacco health care cost-recovery legislation.
  • The federal government established tighter restrictions on tobacco sponsorship and advertising in 2000, and on Nov. 26, 2004, it ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control committing to a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertising.
  • Health Canada rolled out significant targets with its 2001 Tobacco Control Strategy.

The improved policy environment means that RNs must now prepare to help the increased number of clients seeking help with smoking cessation. It also shifts the focus of RN advocacy to maintaining the momentum of recent legislative gains, court decisions and government commitments. RNs must remain vigilant about all dimensions of tobacco control – the total package is essential – but there is a particular need to address: tobacco taxes and price; advertising and information disclosure; and supports for smoking cessation.

We hope that this kit helps you enhance the health of Ontarians by assisting you in promoting effective tobacco control strategies and lobbying for strong tobacco legislation.

feedback