The Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control and the Canadian Cancer Society are pressing elected leaders in the National Assembly to ban flavoured tobacco products without any further delay

07 October 2013

Montreal -

More than 33,000 Secondary 3 to 5 students in Quebec used flavoured tobacco products in the past 30 days

 

The Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control and the Canadian Cancer Society are pressing elected leaders in the National Assembly to ban flavoured tobacco products without any further delay

 

Montreal, October 7, 2013 — The Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) – Quebec Division and the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control (CQCT) deplore the data[i] revealed today by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact of the University of Waterloo, which indicate that Quebec is the province where flavoured tobacco products enjoy the greatest popularity in the whole of Canada. Among the 56,300 Secondary 3 to 5 students in Quebec surveyed who had used tobacco products in the past 30 days in 2010/2011, 33,400[ii] among them, that is 59% had used a flavoured product, compared to 52% in Canada and 46% in neighbouring Ontario.[iii]

 

 

The new data point to the crucial role that flavours and additives play among those who are experimenting or just starting to smoke.

For instance, although 15% of Secondary 3 to 5 students in Quebec report smoking in the past 30 days, this figure rises to 21% when the whole range of tobacco products such as cigars and shisha – products that are almost always flavoured (table 3) – are taken into account. What is all the more significant is that even among those who had smoked a cigarette during the past 30 days, more than a quarter (26%) in Secondary 3 to 5 – that is 10,500 youth – had smoked a menthol flavoured cigarette. Menthol is an additive with the refreshing taste of mint (tables 5 and 6). Besides, the data show that 8 out of 10 youth in Secondary 3 to 5 who had smoked shisha over the past 30 days had smoked flavoured shisha, compared with 5 out of 10 in Canada.

Urgent action is needed: in Quebec, for every smoker who quits or dies, a youth becomes addicted to tobacco. The Tobacco Act must be amended immediately to stop the tobacco industry from luring youth with fruit and candy flavours such as cookies, strawberry or chocolate. How can we accept poison being given a nice taste? The Health Minister has the power to quickly end this regrettable scheme,” says Mélanie Champagne, Director of Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division.


 

Study after study, the figures confirm the devastating effect of flavoured tobacco products on the health of our youth. Flavours mask the bitter taste of tobacco and make the first few puffs and experiences less irritating making it easier to start smoking or get hooked on other tobacco products. Government inaction on this issue has curtailed the gains made up until the mid 2000s to reduce tobacco-use among youth. Today, tens of thousands of youth start smoking with a flavoured version of the product, which is responsible for the largest number of deaths in our society, and the government is still dragging its feet without intervening! How many more youth will the government allow to be snared by the tobacco industry’s deadly products before this insidious and immoral practice in banned?” asks Flory Doucas, spokesperson for the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control.

The CQCT and the CCS recently appeared before the Health and Social Services Committee during its examination of the report on the implementation of the Tobacco Act 2005-2010. The two organizations call on the government to act promptly, in order to:

 

  1. ban the addition of flavours, including menthol, to any product covered by the Tobacco Act;
  2. adopt plain and standardized packaging for all tobacco products;
  3. freeze the tobacco market, banning new tobacco products (moratorium); and
  4. regulate electronic cigarettes.

 

These demands also resonate with the public: according to a Leger Marketing survey commissioned by CCS, more than 75% of Quebecers support a ban on flavoured tobacco.[iv]

The Health Minister says he is waiting for the Health Committee’s recommendations before tightening the Tobacco Act. We hope that this new data will encourage not only the members of the Health Committee to recommend a complete ban on all flavoured tobacco products, but will also push them into tabling their report over the next few days with no additional delays. Each day that these products remain on the market, the industry traps new clients – and those with the most to lose are Quebec’s youth and adolescents,” says Ms. Doucas 

 

Tobacco addiction in Quebec: more worrying figures

  • 388% more cigars/cigarillos were sold in Quebec in 2011 than in 2000.[v]
  • Every day, tens of young Quebecers start smoking with coloured, flavoured, and trendy products; a large number of them will be smokers for many years to come.
  • The smoking rate in Quebec has been stagnating at nearly 24% for the past six years, with 1.5 million smokers; so, that means, for every smoker who quits, a youth starts smoking.[vi]
  • In 10 years, the tobacco industry has killed 100,000 Quebecers.[vii]

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Information:

Mélanie Champagne, Director, Public Issues

Canadian Cancer Society – Quebec Division

mchampagne@quebec.cancer.ca ; 514 651-1470

 

Flory Doucas, Co-director and Spokesperson

Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control

fdoucas@cqct.qc.ca ; 514 515-6780



[i] Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactFlavoured Tobacco Use Among Canadian Youth: Evidence from Canada’s Youth Smoking Survey 2010-2011, October 7, 2013. (The survey sampled nearly 51,000 students in Canada between January and May 2011, 4,266 were from Quebec. http://cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2013/Flavoured_Tobacco_Use_YSS_20131007.pdf

[ii] Table 4 from the Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactFlavoured Tobacco Use Among Canadian Youth: Evidence from Canada’s Youth Smoking Survey 2010-2011, October 7, 2013. http://cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2013/Flavoured_Tobacco_Use_YSS_20131007.pdf  

[iii] Table 3 from the Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactFlavoured Tobacco Use Among Canadian Youth: Evidence from Canada’s Youth Smoking Survey 2010-2011, October 7, 2013.http://cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2013/Flavoured_Tobacco_Use_YSS_20131007.pdf  

[iv] Leger Marketing survey conducted in March 2012 for the Quebec Division of the Canadian Cancer Society. http://www.quebec.cancer.ca/quebec/DIP/sondage_omnibus_leger.pdf

[v] Compilation of Health Canada data obtained by the Coalition québécoise pour le contrôle du tabac. http://www.cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2012/DOCU_12_07_30_FumeeSecondaireExterieure.pdf

[vi] Statistics Canada, Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS-2012),  extract of smoking in Quebec from 2003 to 2012: http://cqct.qc.ca/Documents_docs/DOCU_2013/STAT_13_06_18_ESCC_TabagismeQc_IntervalleConfiance_2003_2012.jpg

[vii] In Quebec, more than 100,000 deaths per year are due to smoking-related causes. Lung cancer alone kills 6,300 Quebecers per year.