Interventions in Committee
 
 
 
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View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
I just wanted to throw it out there.
Mr. Rankin had another question, which I want to ask in a different way. I'm wondering if anybody has thought about it from an economic point of view. If you had an extra dollar to spend, where would you help people the most? Would it be in spending it on reducing smoking or on reducing exposure to radon? Has anybody tried to figure out which one of those two will have a bigger effect on lung cancer? It's an economics question, so maybe it's too hard to calculate or something.
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all the witnesses for being here.
First of all, I would like to thank the committee for agreeing to this study. It is my passion and I will be working on it because I truly believe that we should really address what is one of the major health issues that we have in this country.
To start, I have just a few basic questions for Mr. Kosatsky.
You mentioned in your presentation that lung cancer is actually different in smokers, in non-smokers.... Did you mention three types?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
CPC (ON)
If you look at a smoker who also is exposed to radon and at people who are exposed to radon only, how do those types of cancer compare? Or do they compare at all?
View Ted Hsu Profile
Lib. (ON)
Okay.
The y axis of these graphs doesn't cross at zero. Presumably there's a whole bunch of lung cancer from smoking, and then on top of that you're seeing the effects—
View Christine Moore Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My first questions are about cancer screening. As Mr. Wheatley-Price said, when cancer is diagnosed, it is often no longer treatable. It is actually already difficult to treat or untreatable. So only the symptoms are treated.
I have a question about screening programs. At what age and in what situations are screening tests recommended? Of course, those tests are recommended to smokers, but would it be a good idea to recommend them to welders and people who work in a more at-risk environment? Who should be the focus of the screening program? In an ideal world, of course, at what age would it be preferable to begin with those tests to make sure we identify as many people with lung cancer as possible?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
CPC (ON)
I would like to thank all the witnesses for coming here and being at the committee this afternoon.
The first question I have is for both Dr. Wheatley-Price and Dr. Leighl. I want to go back to statistics. I understand you already mentioned that the majority, or 85%, are smokers, and from what I know, in that group the numbers are more or less equal for men and women. However, in the non-smokers group, I understand that the numbers of women who get lung cancer are higher than those for men. I don't know whether my figure is correct, but I heard about 50% more women than men get lung cancer among non-smokers. I might be incorrect there.
Is there any indication as to why that is so? Have there been any breakthroughs on this issue?
View Terence Young Profile
CPC (ON)
View Terence Young Profile
2015-06-16 17:16
Thank you, Chair.
Thank you, everyone, for your time today.
Dr. Ricard, I want to especially thank you for your courage in coming in and telling us your story today. It's extremely helpful. Thank you.
Dr. Lam, 28% of our young people in grades 7 to 12 smoke marijuana. Some of them will become regular users. At least 5% will become addicted.
We've heard on this committee that marijuana can cause psychosis and schizophrenia in young people and damage the prefrontal cortex of their brains. We know that marijuana has more known carcinogens than tobacco does, but it's very difficult to tie evidence of marijuana use to lung cancer because marijuana users also smoke tobacco. They either roll it together and smoke it at the same time or they smoke it alternately.
What role do you think the regular use of marijuana would play in causing lung cancer?
View David Wilks Profile
CPC (BC)
Thanks, Chair.
I just have a couple of questions both related to the same topic, one for Health Canada officials and then one to CIHR. They both are with regard to electronic cigarettes. As you know, this committee carried out a study of electronic cigarettes and made a number of recommendations on which the minister is moving forward, including that the Government of Canada establish a new legislative framework for regulating electronic cigarettes and related devices.
Has any of the $26.5 million in planned spending for the tobacco program been identified for developing a legislative framework toward this initiative?
View Marc-André Morin Profile
NDP (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question is for the deputy minister.
The government receives $700 million in supplementary revenue because of the increased tobacco tax, but it does not use that money to reduce smoking. Instead, the government has cut funds set aside for reducing smoking.
The government has also put forward weak regulations against flavoured tobacco. It isn't following the lead of other countries, like Australia, that impose regulations on uniform packaging.
When will the government get serious about reducing the biggest predictable cause of death in Canada?
View Marc-André Morin Profile
NDP (QC)
Of course, there has been a drop in tobacco use, but the costs for smoking-related health care resulting from smoking are still quite substantial. When you see people smoking outside hospitals with their IV drips, you have to wonder how many of them are unaffected by this government action and find themselves in this situation.
Shouldn't extra effort be made?
View Dany Morin Profile
NDP (QC)
Very good.
You said there were three types of smokers. Can all three benefit equally from e-cigarettes?
View Eve Adams Profile
Lib. (ON)
Doctor, you made some recommendations that if e-cigarettes were to be regulated in Canada you would recommend that there be some gradients on the e-cigarette itself so that people can understand how many cigarettes they're smoking. What level of nicotine and what other recommendations would you have to offer?
View Eve Adams Profile
Lib. (ON)
Are you suggesting doctors serve a parallel system then, where somebody would come in and meet with their physician regularly and under the advice and monitoring of their physician they would end up eliminating their addiction to nicotine, and then there would be a separate parallel system where e-cigarettes would be available at specialty shops as you mentioned or as readily available as cigarettes currently are in convenience stores?
View Wladyslaw Lizon Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much.
The next question, through you, Mr. Chair, is for Mr. Khara.
You did say that people use e-cigarettes if they want to quit smoking. Now, from your practice, or maybe from some studies, how effective is it for smokers? Do they do it individually? Do they go to therapy that someone designs? How effective is that process?
View James Lunney Profile
Ind. (BC)
In terms of re-normalization, we know there's a whole psychological and neurological phenomena associated with smoking. It's timing—after eating—and it's the mechanics of what to do with your hands and so on. For many smokers, the great successes we've made have been because of the restrictions we've brought in on where you can smoke, on smoke-free areas and so on. It's like a get-out-of-jail-free card with regard to the social stigma for many smokers who might be on the verge of quitting or who are now having a great opportunity to switch, when they have trouble smoking, to a "vaping" program. Is that not going to help them perpetuate their problem rather than break the habit they might be on the verge of quitting?
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