Health and Wellness Minister Maureen MacDonald said the province will reduce the smoking rate among 20- to 24-year- olds by 20 per cent in 2016 and aims to reduce the number of teens smoking from 15 per cent to 10 per cent.
The strategy would potentially see vendors facing tougher penalties for selling to minors, such as immediate suspensions of their tobacco license, said Dr. Robert Strang, chief public health officer.
The strategy also includes amending the Smoke Free Places Act to prohibit smoking on school grounds and on Capital District Health Authority properties, as well as encouraging landlords to provide more smoke-free housing options, MacDonald said yesterday.
MacDonald said a social media campaign targeted at teens ages 15 to 18 was launched in January, but didn’t say if other plans would be implemented this year.
The province’s previous strategy was implemented in 2001 and ended in 2006. Diana Whalen, MLA for Halifax Clayton Park, said the four-year hiatus was too long to wait.