Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

November 24, 2014 09:00 ET

Ontario Tobacco Bill Sets North American Precedent

Health Coalition Applauds Moves on Tobacco Flavours, Menthol, E-Cigarettes

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 24, 2014) - Ontario's comprehensive ban on flavours in tobacco products including menthol is the first of its kind in North America, and a major step forward in the protection of young people from tobacco industry products.

"No other jurisdiction in North America has banned menthol cigarettes," said Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco. "We know that over 19,000 young Ontario smokers use menthol, and that they smoke more cigarettes and have the intention to smoke longer, than non-menthol smokers. At the same time, over 1 in 3 Canadian menthol smokers of all ages have told researchers they will quit if menthol is no longer available. The ban may have a greater positive impact among young menthol smokers, many of whom are not as heavily addicted as adult smokers."

"This legislation will protect Ontario youth and help prevent cancer. Flavoured tobacco is appealing to youth, especially menthol," said Rowena Pinto, Vice President, Public Affairs, Canadian Cancer Society, "Bold measures are needed. Banning all flavours in all tobacco products is the right move and this legislation should be passed quickly."

The Ontario Campaign also supports the precautionary approach contained in the government's regulation of e-cigarettes: "E-cigarettes may either help to renormalize tobacco use and make it easier for current smokers to maintain their habit, or they may eventually become an effective part of the province's cessation strategy. The government proposes to prohibit e-cigarette use where smoking is not permitted, and to ban sales to minors, displays and promotion. Until research results on the impacts of e-cigarettes - positive or negative - are much clearer, a precautionary approach as proposed by the government is both wise and not unduly burdensome," said Perley.

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation commends the Government of Ontario's commitment to reducing smoking rates in the province," says Mark Holland, Executive Director, Ontario Mission, Heart and Stroke Foundation. "This legislation will protect our children and youth from the deadly effects of tobacco use. It will also help empower all Ontarians in making the healthy choice the easy choice when it comes to what we eat and feed our families. This comprehensive legislative package will go a long way towards helping Ontarians live healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke."

The government's legislation, based in part on the Youth Smoking Prevention Act (Bill 131), introduced but not passed prior to the election, will be introduced this morning.

The Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco was founded in 1992 by the Canadian Cancer Society (Ontario Division), the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, and the Ontario Medical Association to promote comprehensive tobacco control in Ontario.

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