Nova Scotia set to become first jurisdiction in the world to implement a ban on menthol tobacco

29 May 2015

Halifax -

On May 31st World No Tobacco Day, Nova Scotia will become the first jurisdiction in the world to implement a ban on flavoured tobacco, including menthol. The Canadian Cancer Society commends the Nova Scotia government for their swift action implementing this ban on May 31st. Not only will it place Nova Scotia as a global leader, but it also signals a firm commitment in the prevention of tobacco-related disease.

“The magnitude of this legislation cannot be overstated,” said Barbara Stead-Coyle, Chief Executive Officer, Canadian Cancer Society-Nova Scotia Division. “Today, Nova Scotia has made history by taking a stand against Big Tobacco and putting the health of Nova Scotia’s youth first.”

“Yesterday, we saw the length to which Big Tobacco will go for the sake of profit,” continues Stead-Coyle. “They are threatening to tie us up in legal tape and Nova Scotians will not stand for this. This is our province, our children and our decision.”

This historic achievement set to take effect on May 31st would coincide with World No Tobacco Day, a World Health Organization day of recognition highlighting the health risks associated with tobacco use and advocating for effective policies to reduce tobacco consumption.

“This is a great day for Nova Scotia. We are leading the way globally in promoting a smoke-free culture for youth,” said the Honourable Leo Glavine, Minister of Health and Wellness. “We wish to thank the Canadian Cancer Society in Nova Scotia for their support of this crucial public health legislation. Together we are all fighting for a healthier future for our province and this is one big step in the right direction.”

Nova Scotia will become a trailblazer for the rest of Canada, and the world.  Ontario recently passed third reading of Bill 45 that bans all flavoured tobacco, including menthol. Quebec recently introduced Bill 44 to ban all flavoured tobacco, including menthol.  In PEI, in the campaign for the May 4th, 2015 election, all party leaders committed to follow Nova Scotia’s example to ban flavoured tobacco. The European Union’s ban on menthol will take effect in 2020 for all 28 EU countries.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is also considering a ban.

“We should all take great pride knowing that our province has led the way for other provinces, and other countries, to break the cycle of addiction amongst youth people,” says Stead-Coyle. “We wish to congratulate Minister of Health and Wellness Leo Glavine for his leadership, and we thank all parties for their support of this crucial public health legislation. Today, we say to Big Tobacco ‘the little guy can win and we won’t back down.’”

The 2012-2013 Flavours Report, based on the national Youth Smoking Survey, confirms that 34% of high school student smokers in Nova Scotia smoke menthol.  This equates to 1,800 students.

Adult smoking rates in Nova Scotia have dropped from 30% in 2000 to 19% in 2013.  This dramatic shift can be credited to changes in public policy and support programming.  Nova Scotia was the first province in Canada to ban the sale of tobacco in vending machines and to require smoke-free cars with kids.

 

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