OTTAWA, Sept. 29, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Cancer Society says that
flavoured tobacco regulations announced late Monday close one loophole
but fall short of what the federal government can and should be doing
to protect young Canadians from an urgent health risk.
"The new federal regulations on flavoured tobacco fail to give kids the
protection they deserve," says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst,
Canadian Cancer Society. "We're glad to see the government close a
five-year old loophole on flavoured cigarillos, but the government
should have done more."
"Flavoured tobacco is tobacco with training wheels," adds Cunningham.
"Tobacco products are addictive and poisonous and should not be sold in
fruit, candy and other appealing flavours. Flavoured tobacco makes it
too easy for youth to experiment with and become addicted to tobacco,
which is of tremendous concern."
Despite Canada-wide data showing that 50% of youth tobacco users use
flavoured products, the new restrictions announced by Health Minister
Rona Ambrose apply only to cigarillos, just one of several tobacco
products used by youth. The new federal regulations do not in any way
address the 29% of high school student smokers who smoke menthol, nor
those who smoke flavoured water-pipe tobacco (hookah), those who
consume flavoured chewing tobacco, nor those who consume various other
"Among the missing measures of particular importance is a ban on menthol
cigarettes," adds Cunningham. "Menthol is the most popular flavour
among youth. Menthol reduces the harshness of cigarette smoke for
youth and makes it easier for kids to smoke." The European Union is
implementing a ban on menthol cigarettes that will apply to all 28 EU
The absence of comprehensive federal regulations reinforces the need for
strong provincial legislation as soon as possible to ban all flavours
in all tobacco products. The annual meeting of federal, provincial and
territorial health ministers begining in Banff, Alberta on Tuesday
September 30 provides provincial and territorial health ministers the
opportunity to take a strong stand on flavoured tobacco.
Alberta has legislation awaiting proclamation that bans flavours in all
tobacco products. Ontario is preparing to reintroduce a bill that was
not passed prior to the provincial election. Other provinces including
Quebec and Nova Scotia have announced they are considering legislation
to ban flavoured tobacco.
In Canada, many tobacco products remain heavily flavoured with flavours
such as chocolate, mint, cherry, peach, strawberry and other flavours
attractive to youth.
The federal Tobacco Act, pursuant to 2009 amendments, currently
prohibits flavours (except menthol) in cigarettes, cigarillos (little
cigars) and blunt wraps. Current federal legislation does not apply to
any other tobacco product.
Results from the Canada-wide Youth Smoking Survey for the 2012-13 school
year show that 50% of high school students in Canada who used tobacco
products in the previous 30 days used flavoured tobacco products.
Strong federal leadership is essential to further reducing tobacco use
in the future. Past measures by the federal government are making a
contribution, including the larger cigarette package health warnings
introduced in 2012, and the federal tobacco tax increase in the 2014
budget. A ban on all flavoured tobacco products is a crucial measure to
make further progress.
Minister Ambrose also announced today that she would ask the House of
Commons Standing Committee on Health to study e-cigarettes. The
Society welcomes this study by the Health Committee as there is a need
for action by federal and provincial governments on this issue.
About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization
of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the
quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and
volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers,
in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are
working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information
visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information
Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).
SOURCE: Canadian Cancer Society (National Office)
For further information:
Senior Policy Analyst
Canadian Cancer Society
Phone: (613) 565-2522 ext 4981