Manitoba Set To Protect and Promote Youth Smoking

MONTREAL, June 3, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Bill 52 - The Non-Smokers Health Protection Amendment Act (Prohibitions on Flavoured Tobacco and Other Amendments) is being fast-tracked through the Legislature - dangerously void of any meaningful stakeholder consultation or government due diligence. Thousands of provincial stakeholders whose lives and livelihoods will be directly impacted by Bill 52 have had no real opportunity to involve themselves on this issue, despite several hundred petitions having been sent to the Premier's Office requesting honesty, integrity and respect from their government. Their call for consideration has essentially been met with silence.

The Bill is scheduled for review by the Standing Committee on Justice - today, June 3rd. If Second Reading debate is any indicator, it can be expected that the Manitoba Legislature will swiftly pass this Bill into Law without any real concern or consideration for the truth - or its actual and eventual impact on youth smoking.


The government's lack of any due diligence on this issue has perilously led to a Bill that, if it were to become law, will essentially protect and promote the one and only specific flavour (MENTHOL) in tobacco products that Health Canada research has clearly confirmed is overwhelmingly being "tried" by high school kids, says Luc Martial - VP in charge of Government Affairs at Casa Cubana. Mr. Martial is also a longstanding tobacco control expert in Canada, having worked at Health Canada in the Offices of Research, Surveillance & Evaluation and Policy & Planning within the Tobacco Control Program

One has to seriously question the government's rationale that would effectively give children in the province exclusive access to their flavour of choice in tobacco products, says Mr. Martial. The issue of youth uptake and smoking is and will always be one of illegal "access", not product design. Bill 52 may be well-intended, but it remains seriously misguided and dangerous.


There is absolutely no research, data or evidence of any kind (anywhere) which links the use of any flavor in any tobacco product with actual youth uptake. Kids do not start smoking because of any flavor in any tobacco product. The suggestion that there is such evidence - is at best uninformed and at worse a purposeful lie.

- Bill 52 is currently and uniquely leveraged on third party assumptions drawn from second party interpretations of Health Canada's Youth Smoking Survey (2010-2011). Health Canada has never stated or claimed (or supported any statement or claim made by others) that flavoured tobacco products encourage youth uptake/smoking. A quick and simple call to Health Canada (Tobacco Control Programme) will confirm that the premise of Bill 52 (i.e. that flavoured tobacco products encourage or entice kids into smoking ) - is simply without merit.

Health Canada survey data does confirm that some high school kids who are already smokers - do subsequently "try" a flavoured tobacco product. The frequency and quantity of this "trial", however, is unknown.

Health Canada survey data does confirm that MENTHOL is overwhelmingly the flavor of choice among these high school kids who do "try" a flavoured tobacco product. There is absolutely no data anywhere as to what other specific flavor high school kids might be "trying".

Health Canada survey data does confirm that if a high school kid is not already a smoker (i.e. traditional, non-flavoured cigarettes) - that there is virtually zero chance that they will ever "try" a flavoured tobacco product.

Health Canada survey data does confirm that flavoured tobacco products are not the gateway to kids becoming smokers. These products (like many other age-restricted products such as flavoured alcohol) find their way into the hands of kids because of a continued illegal access  - provided largely by friends and family members (not the legal industry).

Health Canada survey data does confirm that the market for little cigar products (flavoured and non-flavoured) is legal age driven (94%). The majority of consumers are over the age of 25.

Casa Cubana is a Montreal-based importer of quality cigar products (flavoured and non-flavoured). Established in 1998, the company's reach extends throughout Canada with a sales force servicing approximately 10,000+ direct accounts - to include wholesalers, retail chains, independent retailers, gas bars, grocery stores and the duty-free channel. In Manitoba, Casa Cubana currently partners with more than 1,500 legitimate, licenced business stakeholders.

SOURCE: Casa Cubana

For further information:

Luc Martial, VP Government Affairs, Cell: (819) 743-9140

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