Nunavut health minister promotes World No Tobacco Day in tobacco-loving territory

“Our government supports a healthy lifestyle that is tobacco-free”


Nunavut’s health minister Keith Peterson stood up May 31 in the territorial legislature to promote “World No Tobacco Day” in a territory whose people love tobacco more than people in almost any other part of Canada.

“Smoking rates in Nunavut are more than double the national average,” he said. “Over 50 per cent of Nunavummiut over the age of 12, and 80 per cent of pregnant women in the Baffin region smoke on a daily basis. Tobacco is a major risk factor for most of the leading causes of death in this territory.”

Peterson asked the other members of legislature to join him in recognizing World No Tobacco Day, observed on May 31.

“World No Tobacco day encourages each of us to talk about how tobacco has affected our lives, our families, and our communities. Our government supports a healthy lifestyle that is tobacco-free.”

Communities and groups were offered money to host community breakfasts to promote the day: 16 were planned across the territory, Peterson said. In Iqaluit, a free breakfast will be served June 2 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Anglican parish hall.

Peterson also plugged the Government of Nunavut’s five-year “Nunavut Tobacco Reduction Framework for Action” plan, and the “Tobacco Has No Place Here” campaign.

After the question period, Peterson and his tobacco reduction team screened a one-minute animated short video, “created specifically for Nunavummiut.”

The video, which shows the connection between tobacco production and the health and social consequences of smoking in Nunavut, will be shown on CBC television and in the Astro Theatre in Iqaluit, and be posted on social media sites, including YouTube and Facebook.

Peterson also announced the winners of the Tri-Territorial “Get Reel” anti-tobacco video advertising campaign open to students from Grade Six to 12.

“I ask my colleagues to join me in congratulating Nola Hicks’ Grade 5/6 class at Victor Sammurtok School in Chesterfield Inlet. Her class was Nunavut’s Grand Prize winner and receives $500 for their “Smokes Make You Broke” video,” Peterson said.

Peterson also listed the three semi-finalists, who will receive $100 each.

• Kassidy Koaha-Laube, Tyshauna Atighioyak, Natasha Angulalik, Eliza Crockatt of Killinik High School, Cambridge Bay;

• Adam Hicks’ Grade 7/8 class of Victor Sammurtok School, Chesterfield Inlet; and,

• Pootoogoo Ivvaluajuk, Naiomi Ottokie, Laina Geetah of Peter Pitseolak School, Cape Dorset.

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