Ontario health agencies welcome the introduction of legislation to eliminate the sale of flavoured tobacco products designed to attract young smokers. The Private Members’ Bill, introduced today by Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas, will strengthen existing regulations in the Smoke-Free Ontario Actthat will further serve to eliminate the marketing of flavoured tobacco products, and prevent new tobacco products from entering the market.
“The tobacco industry has found a new way to target our youth and we are grateful to Ms. Gélinas for proposing legislation that strengthens Ontario’s tobacco laws and protects our young people from dangerous flavoured and new tobacco products,” said Rowena Pinto, Senior Director, Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society, Ontario Division. “We hope that all MPPs will work together to support the speedy passage of this bill.”
In recent years, candy and fruit-flavoured tobacco products have become a significant threat to Ontario youth. Health Canada data shows that sales of cigarillos alone grew by over 300% per year between 2001 and 2006. In 2008/09, 28% of Ontario youth reported trying cigarillos, while 21% reported trying flavoured tobacco products generally.
An initial attempt by the Ontario government to legislate restrictions on these products in 2010 has been skirted by the tobacco industry, and various flavoured cigarillos, cigars and other products remain freely available on the market today.
“In terms of addiction and other health effects, these products are as dangerous as cigarettes; because they are especially attractive to young Ontarians, they have the added risk of being “starter” products for people who might otherwise never become smokers,” said Mark Holland, Director, Government Relations and Health Partnerships, Heart and Stroke Foundation.
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