Quebec, Canada - one-third of hospital beds occupied by smokers..

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Study suggests that smokers are taking up hospital beds and costing the Quebec health-care system millions a year. Researchers found that those who smoke, or used to smoke heavily, occupy 32.6 percent of hospital beds in the province. The report concludes that caring for smokers in hospital costs Quebec's health-care system $930 million a year.

"[Quebec is] certainly lagging behind other provinces, and behind ... measures taken by the United States [when it comes to efforts to curb smoking]," said Pierre-Yves Crémieux, a University of Quebec in Montreal economics professor and one of the study's co-authors. Crémieux said Quebec is behind despite recent efforts to regulate and reduce smoking.

Dr. Gaston Ostiguy, a physician at the Montreal Chest Institute, said most of the patients he sees started smoking a long time ago. "What we see at the moment, is that we are facing the hard-core smokers," said Ostiguy, who tells four people a day that they have lung cancer. Ostiguy said he hoped the study would force the province to do more to discourage young people from picking up smoking.

While provincial health officials are not promising any immediate changes in light of the study, the ministry acknowledged that tobacco-related illnesses are taking their toll on the system.

The Health Ministry is preparing to file a multibillion-dollar class-action lawsuit against the tobacco industry to recuperate some of its losses. (Quebec - intends to sue cigarette makers to recoup health costs..)

Officials are also looking into stronger anti-smoking legislation in the fall, including banning smoking in cars when children are around. (June 16, 2008 - Canadian province of Ontario bans smoking in cars with kids under 16..) The majority of Canadians (82%) say they support a ban on smoking in vehicles with children younger than 18 years of age, according to a national poll released today by the Canadian Cancer Society. The poll results also show that more than two-thirds of smokers (69%) support a ban. (Overwhelming majority of Canadians support ban on smoking in cars with kids — two-thirds of smokers also support ban, Canadian Cancer Society, 1/16/2008)

Reference: Smokers occupy one-third of hospital beds: study, CBCNews, 8/16/2010.

Some news briefs with Quebec in tittle:
Quebec, Canada - turning immigrant kids into smokers..;
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Quebec - push to stop trade in illicit cigarettes..;
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Canada Ontario/Quebec - make it illegal for minors to possess tobacco products..;
Quebec - intends to sue cigarette makers to recoup health costs..;
Congratulations to the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario for Eliminating the Display of Tobacco Signs and Tobacco Products in Retail Outlets.;
Quebec - Teens Switch from Cigarettes to Cigarillos..;