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Canadian physicians call for fossil fuel ad ban

The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has released an open letter to the federal government calling for a ban on fossil fuel advertising. The letter is co-signed by 34 Canadian health organizations, including the College of Family Physicians of Canada, the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Pediatric Chairs of Canada, Doctors of BC, Réseau d'action pour la santé durable du Québec, Asthma Canada and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions, as well as the Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia public health associations.

The letter urges the implementation of an advertising ban similar to the ban on cigarette advertising implemented in 1988, primarily due to health concerns. The proposed ban would include ads for gasoline, fossil fuel utilities and gas-powered vehicles. It also calls for a response to “misleading environmental claims,” and for the disclosure of health risks to the public. It cites the role of fossil fuel products in climate change and air pollution. The letter marks the launch of a campaign called “Fossil Fuel Ads Make Us Sick” that will consist of health professionals promoting the idea of the advertising ban.

“Climate change is a public health crisis,” said Joe Vipond, president of the association. “Air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is already one of the leading causes of premature mortality in Canada. Today, fossil fuels threaten the lives of as many people as smoking. To protect the health of people and the planet, we must stop promoting these products and the public must be informed about the dangers to human and environmental health they represent.”

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