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Lloyd students speak out against flavoured tobacco


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Friday, 09 May 2014 00:00

Alberta Teen Launches Campaign to Get Bill 206 Across the Finish Line

News Release – Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta

Edmonton - An 18-year-old Grade 12 student from Lloydminster is urging all Alberta youth and concerned citizens to rally in support of a complete ban on flavoured tobacco products.

Jianna Marin — a recipient of the 2013 Barb Tarbox award — is following in Barb’s footsteps by taking her message directly to high school students across Alberta.  Jianna launched her campaign today at the Alberta Legislature and she will be visiting high schools across Alberta over the next few weeks.

Titled “One Teen Takes on the Tobacco Giants,” the initiative is aimed at mobilizing public support for the full implementation of Bill 206 which is awaiting final proclamation by Cabinet.  Jianna’s initiative is supported by the Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta.

“Alberta youth are the primary target of flavoured tobacco products” said Jianna.  “The Alberta government can protect Alberta youth and bring this shameful practise to an end by enacting Bill 206 without delay or exemptions. 

“I encourage Alberta youth, parents, concerned citizens and politicians to stand up for kids by supporting this important legislation.  We cannot allow the tobacco giants to target youth with mint, candy, and fruit flavoured products that kill when used exactly as intended.”

Jianna played a key role in securing Bill 206 by starting a local youth group in Lloydminster to rally public support for a ban on flavoured tobacco products.  The campaign caught the attention of local MLA Richard Starke who responded by introducing a bill to ban all flavoured tobacco products.  Bill 206 was approved last fall with almost unanimous all-party support in the Legislative Assembly.

“The Alberta Government and Legislative Assembly deserve full marks for approving Bill 206 and for protecting thousands of Alberta youth from these addictive and deadly products” Jianna added.  “Now we need to get this bill across the finish line.  Our message is simple:  Enact Bill 206 without any delay or exemptions.  Partial protection is not enough.  Protect all Alberta youth from flavoured tobacco products and don’t leave anyone behind.  If fully implemented, Bill 206 will give Alberta youth first-class protection from flavoured tobacco products.”

Jianna is particularly concerned about a potential exemption for menthol cigarettes.  The tobacco companies have registered over two dozen lobbyists to fight the legislation. Research shows that menthol makes it easier for kids to start smoking because it soothes the throat, opens the airways, and increases nicotine absorption into the bloodstream.

“Menthol cigarettes are the single most popular flavoured tobacco product among Alberta teens” said Jianna.  “Of the 26,000 adolescents who are using flavoured tobacco in Alberta, one-half are using menthol cigarettes.  In sharp contrast, less than five percent of adult smokers are using menthols.  A menthol exemption will leave behind 13,000 kids and will condemn many more to addiction, disease and premature death.  Any legitimate attempt to curb flavoured tobacco use among youth must include a ban on menthol cigarettes.”

Jianna is not taking the proposed flavourings ban for granted and she knows what she is up against.

“I am one teen taking on the tobacco giants” she added.  “I cannot win this fight alone.  I am calling on all Alberta youth, parents, concerned citizens and politicians to join me in securing a complete ban on flavoured tobacco products.”

Jianna is mounting a social media campaign with the handle “JoinJianna2014” to enlist support for a complete flavourings ban.  She is urging all concerned Albertans to contact their MLAs and encourage the government to enact Bill 206 without delay or exemptions.

“You can be part of the solution and stand up for Alberta’s youth” Jianna added. “Join me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and together we can make flavoured tobacco history and give thousands of Alberta kids a healthier, tobacco-free future!”


Erin Cripps-Woods at 587-783-8931 (to reach Jianna Marin)

Angeline Webb at 780-239-5295

Les Hagen at 780-919-5546
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