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Thursday, 06 December 2012 09:50

Health groups welcome bill to ban flavoured products

News Release

A coalition of prominent health organizations is supporting a new bill to prohibit flavoured tobacco products in Alberta. Bill 206, the Tobacco Reduction (Flavoured Tobacco Products) Amendment Act, sponsored by MLA Dr. Richard Starke, would provide the Alberta government with the authority to prohibit all flavoured tobacco products. The bill received first reading today in the Alberta Legislative Assembly.

“We applaud Dr. Starke for his efforts to reduce tobacco use among young people and we hope that this bill will receive the full support of the Legislative Assembly and the Government of Alberta” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH).“Cancer, heart and lung disease should not be sugar coated or candy flavoured and this deplorable marketing strategy must be stopped” he added. “Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from tobacco industry products and this bill will help kids remain tobacco-free for life”.

Although the bill will not receive debate in the fall sitting of the legislature, the coalition is very pleased that the Alberta government has pledged to introduce tobacco legislation in the 2013 spring session. Last month, Health Minister Fred Horne announced that the provincial government is planning to introduce new tobacco legislation to prohibit flavoured tobacco products and to curb tobacco sales to minors in the New Year. The legislation is part of the renewed Alberta Tobacco Reduction Strategy—an ambitious 10-year plan to significantly reduce tobacco use in the province.

“We hope that the wording of Bill 206 will be duplicated verbatim in the government bill that has been promised for the upcoming spring session” said Barb Borkent of The Lung Association of Alberta/NWT. “Bill 206 would provide the authority to ban flavourings in any tobacco product and this is essential if we are to be successful in reducing youth tobacco use. Experience has shown that tobacco companies will exploit any loopholes or omissions in the legislation.”

Provincial and national surveys have revealed that adolescents are using a wide range of flavoured tobacco products including flavoured cigars and cigarillos, menthol cigarettes, flavoured spit tobacco, and flavoured tobacco in water pipes. A partial ban on flavoured cigarillos that was approved by the Harper government in 2009 has had little impact in curbing overall flavoured tobacco use among youth.

A survey of 3,489 Alberta junior high school students completed earlier this year by The Lung Association of Alberta and NWT revealed that about two-thirds of youth tobacco users are choosing flavoured tobacco products.

According to the Canadian Community Health Survey, about 50,000 Alberta youth aged 12 to 19 are current smokers.

The vast majority of smokers become addicted by the age of 18 and the tobacco industry relies on these replacement smokers to make up for lost sales resulting from smokers who quit or who die from tobacco use. Tobacco use kills one-half of its long term users.

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of seven prominent health organizations who are working together to reduce tobacco use in Alberta. For more information please visit

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Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546
Barb Borkent @ 780-488-6995 x2254

Bill 206 can be viewed here.

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