Main navigation english

Canadian Public Health Association

Milestones: recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard

1908 - Tobacco Restraint Act passed making it illegal to sell cigarettes to those 16 years old and under.

1970s - Evidence began to emerge about the effects of smoking during pregnancy; on average, women who smoked while pregnant delivered smaller-than-average babies and the chances of premature birth and stillbirth were elevated.

1974 - The Canadian Council on Smoking and Health was formed, with charter members including the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Heart Foundation, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Lung Association. The Non-Smokers' Rights Association was also formed during 1974.

1977 - The first National Non-Smoking Week was observed, taking place every January and featuring Weedless Wednesday, encouraging smokers to give up cigarettes for just one day.

1988 - Bill C-201 restricting smoking in federal workplaces and on planes, trains and boats, and Bill C-51 were passed in the House of Commons. Bill C-51, later known as the Tobacco Products Control Act, provided the authority to ban all tobacco advertising, impose restrictions on and gradually phase out promotional activities and sponsorship of events or persons by tobacco manufacturers, and require more explicit health warnings on tobacco product packages.

1989 - The federal government required cigarette manufacturers to list the additives and amounts for each brand. A ban on smoking was imposed in domestic airlines.

1990 - The federal government announced that smoking would be banned on international flights of six hours of less.

1994 - Canada became the first country to require that its air carriers make all flights, domestic and international, smoke-free.

1997 - The Canadian Tobacco Act severely restricts tobacco companies' right to advertise.

1998 - British Columbia launched a lawsuit for the recovery of tobacco-related health care costs, the first in Canada and in the Commonwealth.

1999 - Victoria was the first city to ban smoking in all workplaces and public spaces with no allowance for designated smoking rooms.

2009 - An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act to protect children and youth from tobacco industry marketing practices that encourage them to use tobacco products was introduced in the House of Commons by the Minister of Health, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq.