Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

September 10, 2014 06:00 ET

Widespread Use of Flavoured Tobacco Products Continues Among Ontario Youth

Health Agencies Urge Speedy Reintroduction of Youth Smoking Prevention Act

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 10, 2014) - Bolstered by new data showing flavoured tobacco product use remains high among Ontario teens, the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco (OCAT) is calling on the provincial government to ban all flavours in these products.

A new survey from the University of Waterloo's PROPEL Centre showing how Ontario youth use flavoured tobacco products confirms that more than 57,000 Grade 6-12 Ontario students still used flavoured tobacco products in 2012/13, a result almost identical to that found in 2010/11 data.

"Today's data from Canada's 2012/13 Youth Smoking Survey (YSS) confirm that Ontario kids are still using a variety of flavoured tobacco products - including menthol cigarettes and flavoured cigarillos or cigars - at very high levels," said Michael Perley, Director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco.

He also pointed out the high number of young menthol users: "More than 19,000 Ontario youth - or 1 in 4 who report smoking - say they are smoking menthol cigarettes. We know that young menthol smokers smoke more cigarettes per day, and are more likely to keep smoking, than non-menthol users," he said. "Provincial legislation must include a ban on menthol cigarettes."

"Ontario's doctors have long called for the ban of products that make smoking more appealing to kids, and supported efforts to eliminate candy flavoured tobacco products in last year's Youth Smoking Prevention Act," said Dr. Ved Tandan, President of the Ontario Medical Association. "We very much support the reintroduction of this important legislation and other initiatives that make it harder for kids to start using deadly tobacco products."

Public opinion polling recently completed by Ipsos Reid for the Heart and Stroke Foundation showed that support for tobacco control measures including a ban on flavoured products is very high across Canada - at 91%. "This is no surprise: apart from resistance from a few tobacco importers and manufacturers, we've seen no opposition to a ban on flavoured tobacco products develop," said Mary Lewis, Executive Director, Ontario Mission, Heart and Stroke Foundation.

"Today's data clearly shows immediate government action is needed to eliminate flavoured tobacco products once and for all," said Rowena Pinto, Vice President of Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives of the Canadian Cancer Society's Ontario Division. "The Canadian Cancer Society and our youth advocates will continue to raise awareness and rally support until a ban on flavoured tobacco products is a reality. We encourage all Ontarians to #endtheflavour at www.takeaction.cancer.ca."

The OCAT's call for a flavours ban is also in response to the inability of existing federal and provincial legislation to effectively restrict flavours in tobacco products.

Today's report, Flavoured Tobacco Use Among Canadian Youth: Evidence from Canada's 2012/13 Youth Smoking Survey, was prepared by Dr. Steve Manske and colleagues at the PROPEL Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.

Pictures of flavoured products now available in the Toronto region can be seen at http://media3.marketwire.com/docs/ocat0909.pdf. Samples of these products can also be seen/filmed at the OCAT offices at Suite 900, 150 Bloor St. West (n/e corner of Avenue Rd.), Toronto.

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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