With tobacco use still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada, more smokers, ex-smokers and vape users are in support of policies that would lower nicotine levels in smoking products, said a recent study from the University of Waterloo.
The data is based on a report from the university's International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project.
The study outlined several potential regulatory steps that could be taken to encourage tobacco users to reduce their usage levels.
The study said 64 per cent of smokers supported lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them less addictive.
Other possible measures included banning vapour flavours to only tobacco and menthol; banning flavours to tobacco only; requiring retailers to also sell nicotine alternative products, banning promotional discounting on cigarettes and tobacco.
The university reported it was five years ago that Canada’s Tobacco Strategy adopted a target of less than five per cent tobacco use by the year 2035. This would mean cutting by more than half the current rate of smoking among Canadians, which in 2020 was about one in eight Canadians who smoked cigarettes regularly, said the report.
Of six potential regulatory measures put forward in the ITC study, 64 per cent of smokers said they supported lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes to make them less addictive.
“Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. The study findings show that even smokers themselves are in favour of new ways of tackling the smoking epidemic,” said Geoffrey Fong, professor of psychology and public health sciences at Waterloo and Principal Investigator of the ITC Project.
Roughly half of the 3,560 smokers polled supported a requirement for tobacco retailers to sell alternative nicotine products, such as e-cigarettes, as well as banning promotional discounting of cigarettes.
Thirty per cent of smokers support a total ban on cigarettes in 10 years if alternative nicotine products are available, with 33 per cent in favour of print warnings directly on the individual cigarettes themselves.
The report was funded by Health Canada’s Substance Use and Addictions Program.