A local public health expert is encouraged by a decline in the cancer mortality rate in this country, but says there is still a long way to go.

In an encouraging report from the Canadian Cancer Society, released today, data indicates that while cancer remains the top killer of Canadians, the risk of dying from the disease has fallen dramatically over the past 20 years, due primarily to fewer people smoking.  

Dr. David Hammond, associate professor of public health at the University of Waterloo, tells 570 News, the smoking rate has fallen from 50 per cent a generation ago, to 17 per cent today.

“I often refer to it as one of the biggest public health achievements in Canada.  Unfortunately, it remains one of the biggest public health challenges and that’s because 17 per cent is still an improvement, but it’s still about 4.7 million Canadians”, says Hammond.  

Dr. Hammond says there should be no marketing of tobacco products, and the war on contraband cigarettes should make cheap smokes a thing of the past.