Ontario Lung Association Welcomes Proposed Restrictions on Marketing Tobacco Products to Children

    TORONTO, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - The Ontario Lung Association (OLA) commends
Prime Minister Stephen Harper for announcing today that, if re-elected, he
will take further action to limit marketing and sales practices of tobacco
products designed to target children, including:

    -   banning the sale of "kiddy packs" by amending the Tobacco (Access)
        regulations to require that cigarillos be sold in packages of no less
        than 20;
    -   banning the use of flavours and additives in tobacco that would
        appeal to children; and
    -   banning all tobacco advertising and promotion (in print and
        electronic media) that may be viewed and read by youth.

    "Many Ontarians would be surprised to learn that cigarillos are subject
to different regulations than cigarettes, despite the fact that they deliver
higher levels of toxicants," said George Habib, President and CEO of the
Ontario Lung Association. "In the absence of marketing restrictions, we have
seen an explosive growth in sales of cigarillos in Canada, especially among
children and teenagers."
    Health Canada data released in 2008 showed that, between 2001 and 2006,
sales of cigarillos grew from fewer than 50,000 units being sold to more than
80 million. Cigarillos can be purchased individually for as little as a dollar
    Resembling candy or lip gloss and sold in flavours such as cherry,
appletini or strawberry, cigarillos have a strong appeal to a younger
audience. In fact, a study released in July 2008 by Physicians for a
Smoke-Free Canada revealed that cigarillos are more frequently smoked by
teenagers than by adult Canadians and that teenagers are as likely to try
smoking cigarillos as they are to try smoking cigarettes.
    "We commend the Prime Minister for drawing attention to this important
issue - a first step towards stronger regulation for all tobacco products -
and taking this first step towards stronger regulation for all tobacco
products, and look to our other political parties to take a similar stand to
reduce access to these products that are dangerously appealing to children,"
said Mr. Habib. "The Lung Association also encourages Ontarians to raise this
issue with the federal candidates in their local ridings to ensure this it is
kept top-of-mind amongst all parties."

    About The Lung Association:

    The Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest voluntary, not-for-profit
health-promotion organizations. The Lung Association is concerned with the
prevention and control of asthma, chronic lung disease caused by smoking and
with air quality and its effect on lung health. The Ontario Lung Association
was incorporated in 1945, and has community offices across the province. Visit
the Ontario Lung Association online at www.on.lung.ca, or call 1-800-344-5864
for more information.

For further information:

For further information: Joanne Di Nardo, Ontario Lung Association, C:
(416) 937-5746; Marissa Smith, Edelman Canada, C: (416) 648-9409

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