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Friday, 15 November 2013 05:51

Two out of three Albertans support a complete ban on flavoured tobacco products

A new Ipsos Reid public opinion survey of 1,054 Alberta adults reveals that 68 percent of respondents support a complete ban on all flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes.  Only 16 percent oppose a flavourings ban and 16 percent remain undecided. 

The support is relatively consistent among those residing in Calgary (69% approval), Edmonton (64% approval) and outside of the major cities (69% approval).  The support is also relatively consistent among those of various income and education levels.

"These results show that a strong majority of Albertans want the Redford government to move ahead with Bill 206 and a complete ban on all flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.  “Albertans understand the need to protect our youth from the predatory marketing practices of the tobacco industry.  We cannot stand by and watch this industry target youth with flavoured tobacco products.  Alberta kids deserve first class protection from the addictive and deadly consequences of tobacco use.”

Last month, the University of Waterloo and the Canadian Cancer Society released the results of the national Youth Smoking Survey revealing that over one-half of youth tobacco users in grades 8 to 12 were using flavoured tobacco products in the 2010-2011 school year.  Among flavoured tobacco users, one-half were using menthol cigarettes.

“We are very concerned about the high rates of flavoured tobacco use among Alberta and Canadian youth” said Ev Glasser of the Heart and Stroke Foundation.  “Evidence shows that these are gateway products that are intended to get young people hooked.  Flavourings make tobacco more palatable and facilitate initiation among youth.  Menthol also soothes the throat, opens the airways and improves nicotine absorption into the bloodstream.  We need strong legislation to protect kids from all tobacco flavourings including menthol”.

Last week, the Alberta government threw its support behind Bill 206, the Tobacco Reduction (Flavoured Tobacco Products) Amendment Act sponsored by Calgary MLA Christine Cusanelli.   If approved, the bill will allow the government to prohibit all flavoured tobacco products.  The bill is currently awaiting third and final reading in the Legislative Assembly.

“We applaud the Alberta government for supporting this bill and for taking concerted action to reduce tobacco use among youth” said Leigh Allard of The Lung Association of Alberta and NWT.  “We hope that Bill 206 will be approved and implemented swiftly. Cancer and heart disease should not taste good and tobacco companies should not be allowed to target youth any longer.  Protection delayed is protection denied.”

Last week the Alberta government also introduced Bill 33, the Tobacco Reduction Amendment Act, sponsored by the Associate Minister of Wellness Dave Rodney.  Bill 33 complements Bill 206 and it will further restrict tobacco sales to minors, protect youth from secondhand smoke in vehicles and will preserve the provincial smoking ban by prohibiting waterpipe (hookah) use in public establishments.

There are roughly 50,000 adolescent tobacco users in Alberta who smoke over half a million cigarettes each day.  Over 80 percent of smokers start smoking by the age of 18.  Tobacco use is the leading avoidable cause of disability, disease and premature death, claiming the lives of 3,000 Albertans annually.

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Contact:
Angeline Webb @ 780-239-5295
Les Hagen @ 780-919-5546

Background on the Ipsos Reid Survey

The Ipsos Reid Online Omnibus survey consists of a random sample of over 200,000 online panelists reflecting a typical and representative cross-section of Canadians.  A total of 1,054 Albertans were surveyed regarding their support for a ban on flavoured tobacco during the week of October 28.  The survey is accurate to within +/- 3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

The survey question was:
The Alberta government is considering new legislation to ban flavoured tobacco products in an effort to reduce tobacco use among youth. On a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is "strongly oppose" and 5 is "strongly support", please indicate your level of support for a complete ban on all flavoured tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes, as a measure to reduce youth tobacco use.

 
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