04/03/2012 01:18 EDT | Updated 06/03/2012 05:12 EDT

Coalition calls on Alberta election winner to create health wellness fund

EDMONTON - A coalition of 15 groups wants the Alberta government to put money into a wellness fund aimed at preventing fatal diseases.

The coalition believes most voters would support spending up to $160 million per year to prevent chronic cardiovascular and lung disease, diabetes and cancer.

The Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention says there is also support for raising or imposing taxes on tobacco, alcohol and sugar-sweetened beverages.

The coalition includes the Alberta Public Health Association, the Canadian Cancer Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The major political parties have agreed to send representatives to a special election forum on chronic disease prevention in Edmonton next Tuesday.

The coalition says it hopes the debate will affect how Albertans cast their votes on April 23.