Youth call on Federal Government to ban flavoured tobacco products across Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2013 /CNW/ - As part of the 8th National Conference on Tobacco or Health Youth Stream co-presented by the Ontario Lung Association's Youth Advocacy Training Institute and the Tobacco Control Area Network of Eastern Ontario, youth from across Canada will be holding an event at Parliament Hill to encourage the Federal Government to ban all flavours in all tobacco products. Many flavoured tobacco products are enticing to youth and are packaged to look like lip-gloss, candy and other youth friendly products.

According to a recent study released by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo, more than half (52 per cent) of high school smokers surveyed said they had used candy-flavoured tobacco in the past 30 days.

"Adding flavours and flashy packaging so tobacco products look and taste like candy sends a clear message that these products are being targeted to kids," said Miranda Merry a member of Freeze the Industry anti-tobacco industry coalition. "It is time to stop the Tobacco Industry from being able to use these creative marketing practices. We need a ban on all flavours in all tobacco products to help prevent young people from being enticed by Big Tobacco."

The call for a ban on flavoured tobacco products is not new. In 2009, The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, was passed and was designed to ban the sale of flavoured cigarillos. Unfortunately, loopholes in the law allowed the Tobacco Industry to slightly change its product and today a very similar product is still for sale.  This was achieved by removing the banned cigarillos filter and increasing the weight of the cigarillo to more than 1.4 grams. These two small acts reclassified the product to a little-cigar, and therefore it was no longer subject to the legislative ban.  The Tobacco Industry's ability to get around laws is why the group is calling for an outright ban on all flavoured tobacco products.

"As a youth, it's frustrating to see the Tobacco Industry so easily get around a law that took so many years and hard work to bring about," said Cassidy Traver, a member of Freeze the Industry anti-tobacco industry coalition. "Imagine if hamburgers were banned, but the next day they were still being sold because the restaurants had made the patties slightly bigger and changed the bun so that it could be called a beef sandwich instead of a hamburger. It sounds ridiculous, but essentially that is what the Tobacco Industry has done with the cigarillo ban and they are getting away with it."

Youth attending the November 25 event will be made up youth from 15 Public Health Units across Ontario including representation from Northern Ontario's Flavour…Gone coalition and members from Ontario's Freeze the Industry group along with other youth from groups across Canada. The event marks an important milestone for the Flavour…Gone and Freeze the Industry coalitions as they recently merged. The new combined group will continue with the Freeze the Industry brand and is seeking a ban on all flavoured tobacco.

About Freeze the Industry
Freeze the Industry is a youth led coalition that is dedicated to stopping the Tobacco Industry from developing and marketing products that are enticing to youth. The group is calling for an immediate ban on all flavoured tobacco products. In the fall of 2013, the group merged with the former Flavour…Gone coalition, a group of Northern Ontario youth that were instrumental in encouraging the Federal Government to adopt legislation to restrict the sale of flavoured cigarillos (mini-cigars) in 2009.  For more information visit - http://www.freezetheindustry.com/

SOURCE: National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

For further information:

Phil Jansson
Phil.Jansson@kflapublichealth.ca
Prior to event: 613-549-1232 x1574
During event: 613-876-5486 (Mobile)

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National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

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