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Monday, 24 November 2014 00:00

Alberta Health Groups Applaud Ontario Government For Moving To Ban Menthol And Other Flavoured Tobacco Products

News Release – Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta 
Monday, November 24, 2013

Edmonton - The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is applauding the Ontario government for today’s announcement that it will be banning all flavoured tobacco products including menthol cigarettes. The announcement comes less than two weeks after the Alberta government decided to exempt menthol flavoured tobacco from a provincial ban on flavoured tobacco products.

“Menthol is the most harmful and popular tobacco flavour among youth and we are delighted that Ontario will include menthol in its tobacco flavourings ban” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division.  “Ontario is demonstrating true leadership on this important health issue and we hope that other provinces including Alberta will soon follow.  Exempting menthol from a ban on flavoured tobacco is like exempting iPhones from distracted driving laws because they are the most popular communications device.  Alberta’s menthol exemption is a deadly double standard that will leave behind 6,500 Alberta youth from the province’s limited ban on flavoured tobacco products”.

Last week in the Alberta Legislature, Health Minister Stephen Mandel said that the Alberta government’s priorities on tobacco are “protecting children…as well as making sure that we align ourselves with the rest of the country”.

“Based on the today’s announcement, we are urging the Alberta government to realign with Ontario and other provinces that will be providing youth with first-class protection from the most dangerous and popular tobacco flavouring” said Les Hagen, executive director of Action on Smoking & Health.  “More importantly, the Alberta government can help to keep thousands of Alberta youth tobacco-free for life by including menthol in its forthcoming ban on flavoured tobacco. Alberta youth deserve every bit as much protection as Ontario youth.  There are 6,500 good reasons why the Alberta government needs to include menthol in its ban on flavoured tobacco.  Protection delayed is protection denied”.

It is widely reported that tobacco companies helped to secure a menthol exemption in Alberta after hiring over 20 lobbyists to fight the proposed menthol ban and other tobacco control measures. 

“We urge the Health Minister, the Premier and all MLAs to stand up against the tobacco lobby and to join the fight to protect Alberta youth from predatory tobacco industry marketing” said Angeline Webb. “The Alberta government is currently suing Canadian tobacco companies for 10 billion dollars for various transgressions including ‘targeting youth and adolescents’.  We urge the government to act on these words by stopping tobacco companies from targeting Alberta youth with menthol flavoured tobacco”.

Alberta’s lawsuit against the tobacco industry is the largest in the province’s history and is recognized as a potential game-changer for the marketing of tobacco in the province.

Over one-half of Alberta youth tobacco users are using flavoured tobacco productsincluding menthol cigarettes which are the single most popular flavoured tobacco product among youth.

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

 

 

Contact:

Les Hagen at 780-919-5546

Angeline Webb at 780-239-5295

 
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