3 out of 4 of Toronto’s women smoke, but talk of female discrimination “isn’t helpful,” says committee chair

Three out of four women smoke in Toronto, but that is a tale of two cities, said Dr. David McKeown, vice-chair of the public health commission, at Toronto City Hall on Thursday.

After public health services pointed out that 35 percent of women in the city have smoked in the past year, Ms. Chow said, “You should not mention that statistic out in the public.”

Dr. McKeown then responded that public health services must consult scientific studies in making their recommendations, noting that they had based a risk assessment on a methodology derived from one study.

Mayor John Tory said the city can only do “things that are scientifically sound.”

He then acknowledged that public health services have tended to target the male population to reach girls and women.

Ms. Chow expressed disappointment in the way the commission talks about its policy proposals, and asked if the policy seemed to be new.

“I have suggested to you that I want you to put women first as we also hear about men,” she said.

Dr. McKeown said data suggested that when the public health service targeted teen girls, they fell out of the cigarette habit.

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