Canadian Cancer Society calling on Nova Scotians to take action against flavoured tobacco products

10 September 2014

Halifax -

New report confirms youth continue to use flavoured tobacco products

On the heels of the just released 2012-2013 Flavours Report, based on the Youth Smoking Survey, the Canadian Cancer Society is once again calling for a ban on flavoured tobacco products and asking Nova Scotians to help them in their fight. The new survey results show that 48% of high school students in Nova Scotia, who used tobacco products in the previous 30 days, had used flavored tobacco products.

“Today’s Report proves that flavored tobacco continues to be a major threat to the health of Nova Scotia youth,” says Kelly Cull, Manager, Government Relations, Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division. “We are very concerned that fruit and candy flavored tobacco make it easier for youth to become addicted to tobacco. In response, we are continuing to present our concerns to the provincial government calling for legislation regarding the sale of flavoured tobacco. We ask Nova Scotians to reach out to their elected official through TakeAction.cancer.ca.”

TakeAction.cancer.ca is a Canadian Cancer Society advocacy website, which allows users to send a pre-filled, but customizable, letter to their local provincial representative(s). The site generates a letter to the appropriate MLA based on postal code.

This past spring, Health Minister Leo Glavine stated his intention to introduce legislation that would ban the sale of flavored tobacco in Nova Scotia. “We commend Health Minister Leo Glavine for taking this important step toward protecting future generations from the devastating effects of tobacco related disease. We look forward to seeing the introduction of this bill when the legislatures resumes in October,” Cull continues.

The 2012-2013 Flavours Report also showed that 34% of teen smokers in Nova Scotia had smoked menthol cigarettes in the previous 30 days, totaling 1,800 students.

“Research shows that menthol increases smoking initiation among youth and makes it harder for smokers to quit. It masks the harshness of tobacco smoke, enables deeper inhalation and increases nicotine absorption,” says Cull.  “Menthol is the most popular flavor among youth. It is essential that a ban on menthol cigarettes be included as part of any ban on flavored tobacco.”

To support the awareness of this important message nationally, the Canadian Cancer Society is launching the Now Available campaign to demonstrate the harmful impact of flavored tobacco products. This social media campaign will use impactful images designed to heighten awareness of the tobacco industry’s relentless and deceitful tactics used on youth.  “We want young people to understand the devastating impact that the sale and use of these products is having on their future,” says Cull. 

The analysis of the Youth Smoking Survey data on flavoured tobacco released today was prepared by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo. 

Read the full report. 

The Youth Smoking Survey is conducted every 2 years on behalf of Health Canada by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact. The most recent survey results are from the survey conducted between November 2012 and June 2013 with 47,203 students participating across Canada.

What is flavoured tobacco?
Fruit and candy-flavored tobacco products such as cigarillos (little cigars), water pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes are available in chocolate, mint, cherry, peach, strawberry and other fruit and candy flavours that are appealing to youth. These flavors mask the harsh taste of tobacco and make it easier for youth to become addicted.

More youth smoking in Nova Scotia
Here in Nova Scotia, 13% of our youth (Grades 9-12) report smoking a cigarette in the last 30 days. In looking at flavors, 34% of Nova Scotia youth smokers smoked menthol cigarettes in the previous 30 days. Nationally, the statistic is 29%. (Propel Centre for Population Impact – University of Waterloo)

Current policies across Canada
A growing number of provinces are taking action on flavored tobacco products, but currently there is no provincial legislation banning flavored tobacco.  Alberta adopted legislation in December 2013 that would ban flavored tobacco (including menthol), but it is awaiting proclamation.  Ontario and Manitoba are bringing forward legislation.  Other provinces, including Quebec and Nova Scotia, stated they are considering banning flavored tobacco.

About the Canadian Cancer Society
The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. Thanks to our donors and volunteers, the Society has the most impact, against the most cancers, in the most communities in Canada. Building on our progress, we are working with Canadians to change cancer forever. For more information, visit cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333 (TTY 1-866-786-3934).

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Media contact information:
Heather Creighton Spriet
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division
Heather.spriet@ns.cancer.ca
(902) 423-6183