Manitoba moves to ban flavoured tobacco – Winnipeg Sun

In an effort to curb youth smoking, the province will introduce legislation to ban flavoured tobacco.

An amendment to the Non-Smokers Health Protection Act was tabled Wednesday by Healthy Living Minister Sharon Blady with the hope the ban comes into effect before the summer.

“Candy, chocolate, and fruit make tobacco much more attractive to children and youth and they make it more likely that kids will experiment with tobacco and get hooked,” she said at an announcement held at West Kildonan Collegiate. “It is time that we remove these products from the shelves and help our kids avoid tobacco altogether.”

The proposed amendment would ban flavoured cigarettes, cigarillos, and cigars such as Prime Time, Backwoods, Bluntarillo, and Colts.

It would also ban flavoured loose tobacco.

Menthol tobacco products, chewing tobacco, and snuff are exempt from the ban.

Current loopholes in federal legislation dealing with the size of the tobacco sticks allow companies to market the flavoured tobacco in bright, colourful package to attract kids, explained the minister.

“We are aware of the menthol and others issues related to tobacco. This is a specific piece of legislation targeting this loophole,” she said.

The ban follows similar legislation currently in the works in Alberta and Ontario.

Erin Crawford, senior director for public issues for the Canadian Cancer Society in Manitoba, would like to see the ban broadened to include menthol cigarettes and chewing tobacco.

“The Canadian Cancer Society’s position is that all flavoured tobacco products — including menthol and chew — should be banned and that’s what we have been looking for and that’s what we are going to continue to be asking for,” she said.

Data from a National Youth Smoking Survey released in October said 34% of youth smokers in Manitoba had smoked menthol cigarettes in the previous 30 days.

The vice-president of governmental affairs for Casa Cubana, a cigar distributor and importer, said the government doesn’t want to target menthol cigarettes because of the legal push-back they’ll receive for the big companies.

“If they included menthol, they’d have an issue with big cigarette companies, who are all lawyered up,” Luc Martial said. “Small companies like Casa Cubana … we don’t have the deep pockets that cigarette companies have.”

He says by banning these flavoured products, they will push the consumer right into the hands of big tobacco and menthol cigarettes.

“By banning every other flavour, you are basically doing a favour for big tobacco, getting rid of all these competitors,” he said.

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