Quebec election: Montreal councillors want smoking age raised to 21

Montreal North Mayor Christine Black and two city councillors are calling on the provincial government to raise the legal smoking age from 18 to 21, arguing that such a measure would ultimately save lives.

Black’s motion, proposed by Snowdon councillor Marvin Rotrand and Andrée Hénault of Anjou, already has the backing of the director of the Montreal Public Health Department.

“According to the Canadian Cancer Society, tobacco use is responsible for 20 per cent of all deaths nationally, and has given rise to $6.5 billion in additional health-care costs,” Black said in a statement.

City council will vote on the motion on Monday. The motion also urges the next provincial government to raise taxes on tobacco progressively to deter smoking.

Black noted that a recent SOM poll found that 73 per cent of Quebecers are in favour of raising tobacco taxes to the same level as those in Ontario.

The timing of Friday’s news conference at Montreal city hall coincides with the provincial election campaign, putting pressure on the four main political parties to take a tougher stance on smoking.

aderfel@postmedia.com

twitter.com/Aaron_Derfel

This story will be updated.

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