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Tobacco Reduction: Awareness and Education


  • Tobacco reduction,
  • Social environment,
  • Community,
  • Facilities & organizations,
  • Healthcare facilities,
  • Schools,
  • Workplace,

Awareness and Education

Research shows that tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada. In 2015, approximately 2780 new cancers diagnosed in Alberta were linked to tobacco smoking.1 Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 chemicals with at least 172 of these being toxic and 69 known to cause cancer.2 Tobacco is the only consumer product that will kill at least one in two regular users when used as it’s intended to be used.3

Ways to get started

  • Create a public awareness campaigns that. Set a specific goal for those campaigns or focus on a specific area of tobacco prevention and/or reduction, such as highlighting smoke-free communities (spaces and places), the harms of tobacco use and benefits of going tobacco free, smokeless tobacco or vaping products, or the harms of second-hand smoke.
  • Create and align your awareness strategy with provincial, national and international tobacco campaigns such as Smoke-Free Alberta, National Non-Smoking Day and World No Tobacco Day. Refer to the resources section for suggestions.
  • Use texts, social media and blogs to communicate to your target audience.4 Be creative by including TV, youth ambassadors and government supported ads.
  • Use a range of campaign strategies to reduce the attractiveness of tobacco and contribute to change social norms related to public smoking.5 For example, work with community health providers to develop and deliver messages about how the tobacco industry uses marketing strategies to attact users.4
  • Ensure your message is culturally inclusive and appropriate.

For further action to reduce tobacco use in the community, see

Multi-component community-wide interventions that increase awareness about and provide opportunities to reduce tobacco use in your community will have greater impact than implementing one-off strategies.

Evaluation measures the impact of all the hard work that went into developing a community initiative. Evaluating impact examines:

  1. What you expect to learn or change
  2. What you measure and report
  3. How to measure impact

What you expect to learn about awareness and education may include:

  • Learning that the strategy was implemented as planned
  • Learning that the strategy reached those you wanted to reach
  • Increased knowledge on topic
  • Intent to share knowledge

References Tobacco Reduction Awareness and Education

  1. Poirier AE, Ruan Y, Grevers X, Walter SD, Villeneuve PJ, Friedenreich CM, Brenner DR. Estimates of the current and future burden of cancer attributable to active and passive tobacco smoking in Canada. Preventive Medicine. 2019;122:9-19.
  2. United States Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS). (2010). How tobacco smoke causes disease: The biology and behavioral basis for smoking-attributable disease: A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta, GA: Author. Accessed at:
  3. Els, C. (2009). Tobacco addiction: What do we know, and where do we go? Accessed at: _and_where_do_we_go
  4. Health Canada. Looking Forward: The Future of Federal Tobacco Control. Government of Canada. 2011.
  5. Malas M, van der Tempel J, Schwartz R, Minichiello A, Lightfoot C, Noormohamed A, et al. Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation: A systematic review. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2016;18(10):1926-1936. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw119.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC). Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health. 2014.