Canadian Cancer Society urges action on menthol

25 March 2015

Halifax -

The Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia Division urges the provincial government to ignore big tobacco’s scare tactics, and implement a ban on flavoured tobacco, including menthol.

Over one-third of Nova Scotian youth smokers smoke menthol cigarettes

“Make no mistake about it. Menthol is a kiddie flavour,” said Barbara Stead-Coyle, CEO for the Canadian Cancer Society in Nova Scotia. The 2012-2013 Flavours Report, based on the Youth Smoking Survey, confirms that 34% of teen smokers in Nova Scotia smoked menthol cigarettes in the previous 30 days. This equates to 1,800 students.

“Menthol is harmful because it masks the harshness of tobacco smoke, enables deeper inhalation and increases nicotine absorption. Research shows that youth menthol smokers smoke more cigarettes per day, when compared to traditional cigarette smokers, and have lower intention to quit,” says Stead-Coyle. 

“Four in five adult smokers get addicted to tobacco in their teenage years, when they aren’t thinking about lung cancer, heart disease or emphysema. When teens pick up a cigarette, they are attempting to fit in and gain social acceptance, not to start on a path towards lifelong addiction.”

“Government has an opportunity to protect the next generation against the harms of tobacco. Tobacco kills over 1700 Nova Scotians every year, and causes 85% of all lung cancers. The Canadian Cancer Society urges the Nova Scotia Government to be bold and progressive. Big tobacco will be aggressive in their attempts to derail this legislation, and their outcry should be dismissed,” says Stead-Coyle.

Banning flavoured tobacco is a priority for other provinces in Canada. The Government of Ontario recently introduced legislation to ban flavoured tobacco products, including menthol, with the full support of all parties. Quebec is also expected to introduce similar legislation this Spring.

The Canadian Cancer Society has been calling for a ban on all flavoured tobacco products in the province. A recent survey revealed that 48% of high school students in Nova Scotia, who used tobacco products in the previous 30 days, had used flavored tobacco products.

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
Associate Director, Marketing and Communications
Canadian Cancer Society Nova Scotia Division
Heather.spriet@ns.cancer.ca
(902) 423-6183