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Canada — Fewer Young People Smoking, Drinking and Using Drugs – New survey reveals encouraging trend

June 8, 2012 Comments off

Fewer Young People Smoking, Drinking and Using Drugs – New survey reveals encouraging trend
Source: Health Canada

According to the latest results of the Youth Smoking Survey, only three per cent of Canadian students in grades 6-12 said they smoked daily in 2010-2011, down from 4% in 2008-2009.

The school-based survey also found that fewer students have even tried cigarettes once; a decline among those who had ever tried little cigars; and a drop in the percent of students reporting using alcohol, cannabis and other drugs.

“After seeing smoking rates hit historic lows in Canada recently, these new statistics are encouraging,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “In particular, the drop in little cigar smoking suggests that the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act is having an impact on consumption of these products by youth.”

The Youth Smoking Survey, funded by Health Canada and conducted by the University of Waterloo’s Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, is a survey of Canadian youth in grades 6-12 that captures information related to tobacco, alcohol and drug use.

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Health Canada Offers Practical Advice on Safe Cell Phone Use

October 30, 2011 Comments off

Health Canada Offers Practical Advice on Safe Cell Phone Use
Source: Health Canada

The issue:
The number of cell phone users in Canada rose from 100,000 in 1987 to more than 24 million by the end of 2010. With their growing popularity, questions have been raised about their safety. Cell phones emit low-levels of radiofrequency (RF) energy. The RF electromagnetic energy given off by cell phones is a type of non-ionizing radiation. It is similar to the type of energy used in AM/FM radio and TV broadcast signals.

Cell phones in Canada must meet regulatory requirements that limit human exposure to RF energy. Health Canada has developed guidelines for safe human exposure to RF energy.

Who is affected:
There are a small number of epidemiology studies that have shown brain cancer rates might be elevated in long-term/heavy cell phone users. Other epidemiology studies on cell phone users, laboratory studies and animal cancer studies have not supported this association. The International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) recent classification of RF energy as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” is an acknowledgement that limited data exists that suggests RF energy might cause cancer. At present, the scientific evidence is far from conclusive and more research is required.

Health Canada reminds cell phone users that they can take practical measures to reduce RF exposure. The department also encourages parents to reduce their children’s RF exposure from cell phones since children are typically more sensitive to a variety of environmental agents. As well, there is currently a lack of scientific information regarding the potential health impacts of cell phones on children.

What consumers can do:

  • Limit the length of cell phone calls
  • Replace cell phone calls with text messages or use “hands-free” devices
  • Encourage children under the age of 18 to limit their cell phone usage

+ Health Canada’s Radiofrequency Exposure Guidelines

Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2010

September 25, 2011 Comments off

Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) 2010
Source: Health Canada
From press release:

According to new statistics released today, the smoking rate in Canada has dropped to 17% in 2010. This is the lowest level ever recorded, according to annual results of the 2010 Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS).

“The numbers announced today are encouraging, as they show more Canadians are making the healthy choice when it comes to smoking,” said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. “I am particularly encouraged by the numbers when it comes to youth.”

According to the 2010 survey, smoking rates have significantly declined for key age groups. For example, in 2010 smoking among teens aged 15 to 17 fell to 9% — the lowest recorded rate in an age group often seen as key in the fight against smoking.

Using Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins

June 16, 2011 Comments off

Using Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins
Source: Health Canada

Health Canada is reminding Canadians to take steps to prevent cross-contamination of foods when shopping with reusable grocery bags and bins.

As an environmental choice, many Canadians are now shopping with reusable bins, plastic bags and cloth bags to reduce the amount of plastic they are using. Health Canada supports the proper use of these products, but it is important that Canadians use them safely to prevent cross-contamination of food with bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.

Because these bags and plastic bins are reused frequently, they can pick up bacteria from the foods they carry, or from their environment (the ground, the back of your car or the items stored in them between grocery trips).

The following steps can help you prevent cross-contamination:

  • When using cloth bags, make sure to wash them frequently, especially after carrying fresh produce, meat, poultry or fish. Reusable grocery bags may not all be machine washable. If you are using this type of grocery bag, you should make sure to wash them by hand frequently with hot soapy water. Plastic bins should be washed using hot soapy water on a regular basis as well. It is also important that you dry your grocery bags and bins after washing.
  • Put your fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry and fish in separate bins or bags from fresh produce and other ready-to-eat foods.
  • Putting your fresh or frozen raw meat, poultry or fish in plastic bags (the clear bags found in the produce and some meat sections work well) will help prevent the juices from leaking out and contaminating your reusable containers and other foods. Fresh produce should also always be put in plastic bags to help protect them from contamination.
  • If you are using your grocery bags or bins to store or transport non-food items, they should be thoroughly washed before using them for groceries.

    It is estimated that there are approximately 11 million cases of food-related illnesses in Canada every year. Many of these illnesses could be prevented by following proper food handling and preparation techniques.

  • + Food Safety Tips for Reusable Grocery Bags and Bins

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