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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Federal Public Health on the CBC - Drugs, Tobacco and Salt

Three unrelated but significant public health actions by the federal government.  One good and two not so good, but all are worth discussing –and all lead in the CBC news.

Our somewhat aloof and rarely public Prime Minister, on discussing the Latin American leaders conference, admitted that the war on drugs is not working.   While perhaps the rest of the comments still use a tough on drugs rhetoric, kudos need to be awarded for actually changing position, even slightly.  One has to wonder how many times a politician bangs their head against a wall before admitting that it hurts.  War on drugs not working

Less enthralling was the announcement that the tobacco reduction strategy is taking a $15M hit.  Perhaps a need for a rethink of the current strategy in the light of fiscal realities.  On the other hand, the conservatives are well known in this country for close ties to the tobacco industry and are going to be challenged to shake that past relationship.

Finally, the lead story is actually the resistance of the federal government to address the issues of salt consumption by Canadians.  The story leads from how many Canadian foods contain more salt that comparative other countries. Salt in Canadian foods    In the background is the being undertaken by so many health professionals to implement a sodium reduction strategy nationally.  Canada has increasingly being discussing the problem and was introduced in Drphealth salt.  With a link to the national reduction strategy Sodium reduction strategy.  The lack of federal response is becoming legendary, with seeing the use of salt as an individual choice and the role of the government in education of individuals.

Interestingly, we have three different substances, and three very different approaches to public health control.  In drugs one regulates the heck of them; in tobacco there is a mixed response and reduction in our available education resources; and in salt, even in the face of evidence, education remains the sole tool available and even there the federal role has been ghastly.   

On the days where you wonder what is happening in public health in Canada, just look to the CBC headlines.     

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