Two provincial health agencies are calling for hiking tobacco taxes, banning smoking on bar and restaurant patios, setting minimum prices for alcoholic beverages, and making phys-ed mandatory right through high school.

The sweeping recommendations, contained in a report from Cancer Care Ontario and Public Health Ontario for release Tuesday, are aimed at addressing the high percentage of deaths in Ontario (79 per cent) related to chronic but largely preventable illnesses. These include some cancers, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes.

These conditions not only diminish quality of life, but threaten the future of the health system, warns an advance copy of the report.

Some of the suggestions in the report, Taking Action to Prevent Chronic Disease: Recommendations for a Healthier Ontario, will be a tough sell. They would require the buy-in, for example, of bars and restaurants that fought the smoking ban inside their premises.

The report says addressing four main risk factors would ease the burden of chronic disease: Unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption and tobacco use.

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