Hello, my name is Shaylin Wall. I am a Grade 11 student at Holy Rosary High SchooI in Lloydminster. I am part of Flavour Gone! - a group of youth from Lloydminster who are using their voice to ask our government to protect us by banning flavoured tobacco products.
The tobacco industry creates and markets the only product on the Canadian market that kills when it is used as intended. In the past, when legislation was introduced to protect youth from products, the tobacco companies found loopholes and developed products around that.
Flavoured tobacco seems more appealing and less harmful. Truth is, it doesn’t matter what form tobacco is in, it still kills more than 100 Canadians every day.
When these people die, the tobacco industry needs replacement smokers. The easiest replacement smokers to attract are youth. The tobacco companies think we are very gullible and give in easily to peer pressure. Youth are the main reason the tobacco companies are still thriving. Over the years, tobacco companies have used a factory of innovation, from discount brands and kiddie packs, to flavoured products and flashy packaging to smokeless products that can be discreetly used anywhere as a trap to attract youth.
One of the ways to stop youth from using tobacco is to ban flavoured tobacco.
I had the privilege to attend the National Conference on Tobacco and Health Youth Stream 2013 in Ottawa. Joining with over 100 youth and leaders from across Canada, we talked about how youth are being targeted and how we can stop this from happening.
One of our planned events in Ottawa was to walk to Parliament Hill and demonstrate facts about tobacco that we needed to get across to everyone. We made posters bearing the messages: Cancer does not come in a Candy Wrapper, Ban the Flavour, Prepare for a Freeze, to send a message that we need to Freeze the Industry.
Youth need to be warned about tobacco and the harms of its use. Taking flavour out of tobacco would eliminate the chance of kids like me from using tobacco. I have learned that flavoured tobacco isn’t cool and is not less harmful.
We are happy that several provinces, including Alberta have banned the sale of flavoured and menthol tobacco products.
We want a healthy future for not only my generation, but generations to come. On behalf of the youth of Saskatchewan, I call on the Government of Saskatchewan to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products and protect Saskatchewan’s youth, Saskatchewan’s future.