We take it for granted that smoke-free offices, restaurants and hockey rinks are good for the health of Canadians. But the places where we work, eat and play weren’t always smoke-free.
Today they are, because Canadians cared and spoke up — working with organizations including Heart & Stroke — to push governments and policy makers for tobacco control legislation.
That’s the power of advocacy — of individual voices united by a cause. That’s the power that drives our campaigns for a healthier Canada.
Heart & Stroke advocacy efforts focus on creating the conditions necessary for all Canadians to live healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke.
That means raising awareness of things that can affect your heart and brain health, such as sugary drinks and foods high in trans fats. It means leading the push for changes that will protect you and the people you love.
It also means speaking up for communities at higher risk of heart disease and stroke — including Indigenous peoples — so that they, too, can lead healthy lives in healthy environments.
With the passionate support of donors, volunteers and Canadians across the country, we’ve made great strides in the fight against heart disease and stroke.
But there’s much more to do. Here are our priorities.
We’re working with health partners to introduce plain and standardized tobacco packaging — to reduce the appeal of tobacco products and eliminate marketing and promotional opportunities for tobacco companies.
We’ve also called for regulations on e-cigarettes as well as research on their potential benefits in helping smokers quit vs. potential risks to those who might use tobacco alongside e-cigarettes, and to youth who might be encouraged to see smoking as a normal activity.
Raising stroke awareness
When someone has a stroke, the faster they get to medical care, the better their chances of survival and recovery. That’s why we’re working to make sure more Canadians recognize the signs of stroke and know what to do. The key is FAST, an awareness tool we developed with experts based on international best practices.
How you can help: Share FAST with family, friends, colleagues and coworkers, and help anyone experiencing or witnessing a stroke to act FAST.
Protecting kids’ nutrition Food and beverage companies bombard our children with millions of irresistible messages every year — and we’re all living with the unhealthy results. Our 2017 Report on the Health of Canadians reveals the extent and impact of marketing aimed at kids. Tell food and beverage companies that our kids are not their business.
How you can help: Lend your voice to save lives.
Urging government action
In our submission to the federal government for its 2017 budget, Heart & Stroke recommends these actions:
- Impose a levy on sugary drinks to highlight the risks they pose and reduce consumption; use these revenues to support healthy living initiatives.
- Boost funding for life-saving heart disease and stroke research
- Fund CPR and defibrillator training for Indigenous youth, and improve Indigenous peoples’ access to nutritious food and safe drinking water.
How you can help: Call or email your MP to tell them you care about these issues.
Creating active communities
Heart & Stroke is leading the federal Active Transportation Coalition — which is proposing establishing a $270 million annual fund to create and change community design (by adding more sidewalks, walking trails and bike paths, for example). These changes will make it easier for people to include physical activity in their daily routines.