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Monday, 07 October 2013 01:30

Health Groups Urge the Alberta Government to Ban all Flavoured Tobacco Products

National survey confirms high rates of flavoured tobacco use among youth

Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta

– A coalition of prominent health organizations is urging the Alberta government to ban all flavoured tobacco products following the release of national survey data revealing exceptionally high rates of flavoured tobacco use among Canadian and Alberta youth.  Today, the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo released the findings of the national 2010-2011 Youth Smoking Survey regarding flavoured tobacco use.

“The Alberta government needs to protect our youth from all flavoured tobacco products” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.  “Twenty-six thousand Alberta youth are using flavoured tobacco and this is completely unacceptable.  Tobacco companies have flooded the market with a wide range of candy and fruit flavoured products to lure young people and this objectionable practice must be stopped”.

The Alberta government promised to approve legislation this fall to ban flavoured tobacco products, to prevent tobacco sales to minors and to make vehicles carrying minors smoke-free.  A private members bill to ban flavoured tobacco products received support in principle in the Legislative Assembly last May and is scheduled for further debate when the fall session commences later this month.

The survey revealed that about 13,000 Alberta youth, or one-half of all flavoured tobacco users, are using menthol cigarettes according to the Youth Smoking Survey.  In sharp contrast, menthol cigarettes represent only four percent of the total adult cigarette market in Canada.

“On the basis of these disturbing survey results, we urge the Alberta government to ban all flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health.  “Menthol is one of the most insidious flavourings and research shows that it increases smoking initiation among youth.  Menthol masks the harshness of tobacco smoke, enables deeper inhalation, and increases the absorption of nicotine.”

“Alberta kids deserve first class protection from tobacco industry products.  Youth smoking rates remain unacceptably high and further action is needed to keep kids tobacco-free for life” said Janis Seville of the Lung Association, Alberta and NWT.  “We urge the Alberta government to move swiftly and decisively to protect Alberta kids from the predatory marketing practices of the tobacco industry.  Protection delayed is protection denied.”

Tobacco is the leading avoidable cause of disease, disability and premature death in Alberta resulting in 3,000 deaths annually.  Tobacco has no safe level of consumption, it is highly addictive and it is the only legal product that kills one-half of its long term users when used as directed by its manufacturers.

The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of prominent health organizations who are working together to prevent and reduce tobacco use.

To view the full survey results visit:

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Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546
Angeline Webb @ 780-437-8423
Ev Glasser @ 403-781-7177
Kristin Matthews @ 403-981-8586

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