Many young Canadian adults aren’t aware of the lung health risks that come with smoking cannabis. That’s why the Ontario Lung Association has created The Toker, a new comic-book inspired cannabis public health education initiative. Launched today, this initiative aims to reduce the lung health risks and harms associated with cannabis smoking for Canadians between the ages of 18 and 25.
Through a series of humorous videos shared through digital platforms and on-campus activations at different universities across Canada, the Toker will illustrate his failure to “save the day” due to symptoms he experiences as a result of cannabis smoking. Canadian influencers will also be incorporated into the videos to help bring the story to life. Canadians will be directed to TheTokerOnline.ca where they can access videos and educational resources to learn more.
“In a lighthearted way, the Toker highlights the impact that smoking cannabis can have on one’s lungs, as many people aren’t aware that it contains many of the same toxic ingredients as tobacco smoke — like tar, ammonia, and hydrogen cyanide,” said George Habib, President and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association. “The goal of this national education effort is to protect the health and safety of young Canadians by giving them the knowledge they need to make informed choices.”
The campaign is funded by Health Canada as part of an ongoing initiative to implement national and community-based projects that raise awareness about the health effects of cannabis.
A national cannabis survey conducted by Leger on behalf of the Ontario Lung Association revealed that smoking is the most common form of consumption (87 per cent) for Canadian cannabis users between ages 18 and 25, and 64 per cent say they wish they knew more about the impact on their lungs.1
Studies have shown that heavy or long-term smoking of cannabis may lead to chronic bronchitis and a worsening of chronic lung disease symptoms including cough, excessive sputum, wheezing and a decline in lung function.2
Prioritizing lung health is crucial to preventing future health problems. Canadians are encouraged to visit TheTokerOnline.ca to follow the misguided adventures of the Toker and learn more about the effects of smoking cannabis on lung health.
The Ontario Lung Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping all Canadians breathe. Our community of donors, patients, researchers, volunteers and professional staff work to ensure Canadians have healthy lungs, bodies and clean air necessary to breathe. We achieve this by promoting healthy breathing, supporting those living with lung disease and finding future solutions. All of this is done with the goal of delivering a future of better breathing for all.
To learn more about the Ontario Lung Association, visit https://lungontario.ca/.
1 Leger 2019, Cannabis & Lung Health, pg 15, 27 (On File)
2 The Lung Association Ontario. Smoking Cannabis. Available at https://lungontario.ca/protect-your-breathing/smoking-cigarettes/cannabis-or-marijuana/smoking-cannabis