Tobacco Control – A Changing Landscape in Ontario.


27 Nov 2017

With progressive action and new legislation including stricter policies around the use of water pipes, and the banning of flavoured tobacco products, rates of tobacco use in Ontario are at an all-time low. Despite the progress that Ontario has made, tobacco continues to be a leading cause of preventable death in Ontario. Approximately two million Ontarians still smoke and tobacco use is responsible for 13,000 deaths per year. That’s 36 deaths per day.

What does this mean for tobacco control in Ontario?

It is more important than ever to understand what tobacco control measures have the potential to reduce tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. That’s why PHO at the request of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care convened the Smoke-Free Ontario Scientific Advisory Committee (SFO-SAC 2016) to undertake the massive task of updating and rigorously assessing the evidence published on tobacco control between 2009 and 2016. The result: the release of the Evidence to Guide Action Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016), a report of SFO-SAC 2016.

“We’re really excited about releasing this new report, a lot has changed in the field of tobacco control.”

— Dr. Joanna Cohen, Chair, SFO-SAC 2016 committee

The Report provides a comprehensive assessment of 56 tobacco control interventions and highlights their impact on reducing tobacco use and associated burden in Ontario. The report is organized into four main chapters which align with the four pillars of tobacco control: industry, prevention, protection and cessation.

“We are excited for public health professionals, researchers, and many more to use their best interpretation of the new evidence and interventions and turn it into action, we hope to see a reduction of tobacco rates in Ontario, enabling us to become leaders in tobacco control in Canada.”

— Dr. Joanna Cohen, Chair, SFO-SAC 2016 committee

Quick facts about Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2016)

  • The report answers the research question: Which interventions or set of interventions will have the greatest impact on reducing tobacco use in Ontario?
  • Each of the 56 interventions was assessed for effectiveness based on the evidence and assessed for potential contribution to reducing tobacco use in Ontario.
  • The report provides an assessment of the applicability of each intervention to the Ontario context and highlights equity, implementation and priority population considerations.
  • The SFO-SAC 2016 is a committee made up of 15 top tobacco control scientists and experts in Ontario.
  • The report updates the evidence from the Evidence to Guide Action: Comprehensive Tobacco Control in Ontario (2010) report, taking a rigorous approach to assessing and synthesizing the evidence.

Want to learn more about the Report?

Stay tuned to the PHO in Action blog in the coming weeks for more posts highlighting the importance and application of the different chapters of the report (industry, prevention, protection, and cessation) as well as insights from leading tobacco experts.

We have also created additional resources to accompany the report including: a one page visual summary and downloadable Executive Summary

For more information on PHO and our tobacco-related resources, please contact us at

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Updated 27 Nov 2017