Menthol-flavoured tobacco poses danger to youth

22 January 2014

Calgary -

This National Non-Smoking Week, the Canadian Cancer Society is calling on the Alberta government to include menthol in legislation that bans flavoured tobacco.

The provincial government gave itself full regulatory authority over all flavoured tobacco products with the passing of Bill 206 in November. The regulations will be decided on early this year – and tobacco lobbyists are pushing hard to have menthol exempted from this legislation.

“The tobacco industry knows that flavour additives are the key to attract and hook new, young smokers,” says Angeline Webb, Senior Public Policy Advisor with the Canadian Cancer Society. “And menthol is the most insidious of all flavourings. Menthol masks the harshness of tobacco, soothes the throat and allows for deeper inhalations – all of which make it easier for young people to smoke and get addicted.”

According to Health Canada’s Youth Smoking Survey, over half of all youth tobacco users in Alberta – 28,000 girls and boys in Grades 6 to 12 – are now using flavoured tobacco products. Roughly one half of these kids are smoking menthol cigarettes.

“If the Government of Alberta is serious about protecting youth from the dangers of tobacco, it must ensure that menthol is banned along with all other tobacco flavourings,” says Webb.

The Society is also partnering with Health Canada during National Non-Smoking Week to help youth Break It Off with smoking. The Break It Off website and mobile app provide information and resources to help young smokers quit. Participants can also enter to win a trip for two to Costa Rica to help embrace a new smoke-free lifestyle. For more information, please go to www.breakitoff.ca.

National Non-Smoking Week is January 19-25, 2014.

About the Canadian Cancer Society

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national, community-based organization of volunteers and staff 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).

For more information, please contact:

Paula Trotter

Communications Coordinator

Phone: 403-541-2339