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Friday, 15 August 2014 04:26

Animal Health Bill Proclaimed – What about Children's Health Bills?

News Release – Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta
Friday, August 15, 2014
The Alberta government recently proclaimed new legislation to prevent the spread of disease among farm animals while forestalling the enactment of new laws to protect thousands of Alberta youth from tobacco addiction. 
The Animal Health Amendment Act was proclaimed by Cabinet on June 27.  Meanwhile three laws aimed at protecting Alberta youth from tobacco are still awaiting final Cabinet approval.  Bills 203206 and 33 have all been approved by the Legislative Assembly but they require final proclamation by Cabinet before they can take effect.
“Animal health laws should not take priority over protecting Alberta youth from the leading avoidable cause of disease and premature death among humans.  ” said Jianna Marin, youth spokesperson for the Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta.  “Legislation to reduce the spread of disease among livestock is essential and these laws also protect food safety.  However, tobacco kills 3,000 Albertans annually and it deserves the government’s full and undivided attention.”
“We urge the Alberta government to proclaim these bills immediately and give Alberta youth the protection they deserve from these deadly products” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.  “At the very least, the government should proclaim Bill 206 to protect youth from flavoured tobacco. More than one-half of Alberta youth tobacco users are now using flavoured tobacco products as the result of the tobacco industry’s shameless efforts to get kids hooked with candy, mint and fruit flavourings.”

If fully implemented, Bill 206 will ban all flavoured tobacco products in Alberta including menthol cigarettes.  Over one-half of youth tobacco users are using flavoured products.  Menthol cigarettes are the single most popular flavoured tobacco product among Alberta youth.
“Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from tobacco” said Jianna Marin.  “If fully implemented, these bills will provide such protection.   There is no reason to delay these bills any longer.  Protection delayed is protection denied.  I can’t think of a more important role for government than to protect children from major health hazards like tobacco.”
The tobacco industry has registered over 20 lobbyists to fight the new policy measures.  Health groups are concerned that the tobacco lobby be influencing the delay in the proclamation of the new bills. 
“Tobacco companies should not be allowed to dictate children’s health.” said Marin.  “We urge the government to stand up to the tobacco lobby and protect Alberta youth from their deadly and addictive products”.
The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of prominent health organizations who are working to reduce tobacco use.
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