Manitoba acts on Canadian Cancer Society tobacco recommendation

16 April 2014

Manitoba -

The provincial government took action today in response to a Canadian Cancer Society call for the ban of all flavoured tobacco products in an effort to keep them out of the hands of young people being lured into smoking.

However, the amendments to the Non-Smokers Health Protection Act that will only ban certain flavoured tobacco products in Manitoba. Menthol tobacco products, snuff and chewing tobacco would be exempt from the provincial legislation on flavoured tobacco products. 

“We are pleased to see the province take this initiative,” said Erin Crawford, Director of Public Affairs with the Canadian Cancer Society’s Manitoba Division.  “By preventing the sale of these flavoured tobacco products, this amendment would be an important step in protecting young Manitobans from being tempted to purchase harmful products marketed as candy-like goods and ultimately help to prevent cancer.”

Four nearly four years the Society has been calling for changes to tighten up provincial regulations when tobacco companies skirted federal laws by only slightly altering their products and packaging. Flavoured tobacco has been instrumental in luring young people into smoking.

National Youth Smoking Survey data released in October 2013 showed that nearly half (49%) of high school students in Manitoba who used tobacco in the previous 30 days had used flavoured tobacco products. Fruit- and candy-flavoured tobacco and the ability to buy inexpensive individual products (rather than whole packs) have made it easier for youth to become addicted to tobacco.

“Not long ago if you overheard kids having a conversation where someone was talking about grape, cherry, strawberry or peach, it would have been fair to assume they were talking about bubblegum,” says Crawford. “Today they are just as likely to be talking about tobacco products.  That’s why we pleased today to see the province take this important step, keeping cancer-causing products that are clearly aimed at youth off of shelves, and we hope they take a close look at extending the ban to all flavoured tobacco products. ”

The Canadian Cancer Society would like to see the restrictions broadened to more products including menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco which remain popular among young people. The Youth Smoking Survey also showed that a third (34%) of youth smokers in Manitoba had smoked menthol cigarettes in the previous 30 days.  The high popularity of menthol cigarettes among youth contrasts with a low level of popularity among adults, with menthol cigarettes representing only 4% of all cigarettes sold to adults in Canada.


About the Canadian Cancer Society

For 75 years the Canadian Cancer Society has been with Canadians in the fight for life. We have been relentless in our commitment to prevent cancer, fund research and support Canadians touched by cancer. From this foundation, we will work with Canadians to change cancer forever so fewer Canadians are diagnosed with the disease and more survive. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website at cancer.ca or call our toll-free bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Jason Permanand

Communications Manager

Canadian Cancer Society

Manitoba

Phone: 204-990-4310