New Democrats introduce bill to improve and extend ban on flavoured tobacco products

OTTAWA – Today Megan Leslie, New Democrat Critic for Health, announced the introduction of legislation, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act (smokeless tobacco and little cigars). Leslie was joined at the launch of her bill by members of Flavour… GONE! a youth-driven advocacy group that was instrumental in the passage of bill C-32 that banned flavoured cigarillos and received royal assent in October 2009.

“Bill C-32 was supposed to have banned the sale flavoured cigarillos but we learned last year that tobacco manufacturers had found a loop hole in the bill’s definitions that allowed them to continue to sell flavoured cigarillos,” said Leslie. “Candy-flavoured cigarillos continue to be a means for the tobacco industry to make profits at any cost, without regard for the fact that flavoured tobaccos have been linked to increased tobacco use by youth.”

Media outlets reported in August 2010 that flavoured cigarillos were still being sold in Canada, because the definitions in C-32 did not apply to larger cigarillos that do not have filters. Leslie’s PMB closes that loop hole and extends the ban to flavoured smokeless tobacco products, something that government officials told the Standing Committee on Health in June 2009 would be done by June 2010.

“This bill (C-631) offers Parliamentarians the opportunity to finish the job of protecting youth from candy-flavoured tobacco products,” Dr. Dr. Atul Kapur, President of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. “We call on parliamentarians to follow the cooperative spirit that facilitated the passage of C-32 and to support this bill’s quick passage.”

C-32 was based on a PMB tabled in 2008 by New Democrat Judy Wasylycia-Leis that banned flavoured tobacco products. However, the government version of the bill did not ban flavoured smokeless tobacco products, and did not use the tighter definition of cigarillo that was contained within Wasylycia-Leis’ bill.

“Cancer shouldn’t come in candy flavours,” said James McInerney, a youth advocate for the FlavourGONE movement. “Youth across Ontario are standing up with a united voice saying enough is enough when it comes to tobacco industry marketing tactics. We need MP’s from all parties to stand up and support legislation removing flavours from all tobacco products.”

Leslie is calling for the government to take immediate action to close the flavoured cigarillo loophole, and to extend the ban to flavoured smokeless tobacco products.


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