The government of Alberta was presented with an award today for its efforts in reducing tobacco consumption in the province.

Health and Wellness Minister Gene Zwozdesky accepted the Tobacco Reduction Achievement Award on behalf of the province at a ceremony downtown Thursday.

The award recognizes the province’s role in helping reduce tobacco consumption in Alberta for the past three years.

Since 2007, the government has implemented several different measures to cut down on tobacco use, including the prohibition of tobacco displays in retail locations, increasing taxes on cigarette packages, and legislation to make public places and work places smoke-free.

Along with these other initiatives, Zwozdesky said that one of the key parts of the reduction strategy is to educate children about the dangers of tobacco.

“We’re focusing a great deal on the school system to help those kids who have started smoking to stop and to prevent kids from ever starting up,” he said.

Anne Marie Downey, who sits on the Alberta Breathes steering committee, said that the reduction in smoking within the province will benefit all Albertans.

“This is a reduction that improves the quality of life for thousands of Albertans and reduces the impact on the health-care system,” she said.

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