Canada's Doctors Remind Prime Minister of his Campaign Promise - Flavoured Cigarillo Ban Costs Nothing and Will Pay Big Dividends



    OTTAWA, Jan. 14 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Medical Association and
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada reminded Prime Minister Harper today that
he promised to crack down on the marketing of flavoured tobacco products, like
cigarillos, that are aimed at children.
    "During the last federal election, Prime Minister Harper promised to get
tough with tobacco companies using loopholes, candy flavours and fancy
packaging to lure children into nicotine addition," said Dr. Atul Kapur,
President of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "We applauded him for his
leadership at the time. Now, on the eve of National Non-Smoking Week, we
encourage him to follow through."
    "Obviously the economy is a major concern for the government right now
but urgent action is required to counter tobacco marketing tactics aimed at
children" added Dr. Robert Ouellet, President of the Canadian Medical
Association. "Closing loopholes and tightening regulations costs nothing, but
it's an investment that will pay huge dividends in the long-run."
    While more research needs to be done, Health Canada data from 2006 found
that 15% of 15-19 year-olds smoked a cigarillo in the past 30 days compared to
3% of Canadians over the age of 25. Cigarillos are the fastest growing
category of tobacco sales and one of the fastest growing consumer products
according to the survey firm of AC Neilsen.
    The current laws applying to cigarettes (minimum package size, health
warning labels, advertising requirements, etc.) do not apply to cigars or
cigarillos. On September 17, 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to:
set minimum package sizes for cigarillos that would make them less affordable
for children; prohibit flavour and additives that would appeal to children;
and, ban all tobacco advertising and promotion which may be viewed or read by
youth.
    "We know the Prime Minister has a lot on his plate these days, but this
is an easy decision" concluded Dr. Ouellet. "By taking action Parliament will
be putting the health of children first and it will have the support and the
gratitude of Canada's doctors and Canadian parents."




For further information:

For further information: Lucie Boileau, Canadian Medical Association,
(613) 731-8610, 800 663-7336 ext. 1266, (613) 447-0866 cell.; Cynthia Callard,
Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, (613) 233-4878, (613) 850-5594


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