Canada - funding for First Nation tobacco cessation program..


February 23, 2009 - Assembly of First Nations National (AFN) Chief Phil Fontaine said today that he hopes the Government of Canada's recent announcement to commit more than $472,000 in federal funds over two years to tobacco cessation programs for Inuit youth will lead to a renewed commitment to restore similar projects for First Nations youth.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. First Nations (term has replaced the term "Indian", except for historical reference) peoples' refers to the Indian people in Canada.
Aboriginal Peoples - the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal people -- Indians, M├ętis and Inuit. These are three separate people with unique heritages, languages, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. The term "First Nation" has now replaced the term "Indian", except for historical reference. The Inuit reside in Northern Canada - above the tree line in the Northwest Territories, Nunavat, and in Northern Quebec and Labrador. (First Nation, University of Manitoba, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy)


Since the First Nations and Inuit Tobacco Control Strategy (FNITCS) was cancelled in October 2006, there has been no tobacco control strategy for First Nations peoples, who have some of the highest rates of smoking in the country. Chief Fontaine: "There is an urgent need to reduce the use of tobacco for non-traditional purposes among First Nations youth. More than 50 percent of First Nations adults engage in smoking. With half of our people under the age of 25, if this trend continues unchecked, tobacco-related diseases will become an even more significant cause of death amongst First Nations and represent a tremendous future burden on Canada's health care system."

The AFN is working on a new strategy that will include: increasing awareness of the harmful impacts of the non-traditional use of tobacco, especially among youth, and increasing the capacity of individuals to address second-hand smoke exposure by reducing the non-traditional use of tobacco among families and communities as well as building the capacity for monitoring of data concerning tobacco consumption.

Reference: AFN National Chief calls on government for commitment to First Nations Tobacco Reduction Strategy,
CanadianBusiness.com, 2/23/2009.

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