Alberta health advocates to ban flavored tobacco products

Flavored tobacco products

The “sugar-coating” of tobacco products to make them more appealing to youngsters is inappropriate, as outlined by health organizations in the province, who say they’re optimistic the Alberta government will implement legislation in the spring that prohibits the sale of all flavored tobacco products.

Members of the Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta claim that flavored cigarillos, menthol cigarettes, chew tobacco and hookah tobacco are preferred by around two-thirds of tobacco users.

Legislation that would uphold a prohibition was suggested this autumn. Bill 206, a private member’s bill financed by Lloydminster MLA Dr. Richard Starke, received first reading a week ago. It looks for a change of the Tobacco Reduction Act by banning the vending of flavored tobacco products.

The 10-year tobacco decline plan, implemented in late November, also is designed to limit the sale of flavored tobacco between 2012 and 2015.

Bart Johnson, press secretary to health minister Fred Horne, said that limiting flavored tobacco sales will be a goal for the legislature’s next sitting.

Starke said that it’s a crucial step toward reducing tobacco use among teenagers.

“Flavored products are particularly aimed at youngsters,” he said, adding that among adult smokers, flavored tobacco makes up about just 2% of consumption.

Starke said the work of high school students in his own constituency was a major aspect in his sponsoring the bill.

Lloydminster students took participation at the Canadian Cancer Society’s national “Flavour … Gone!” campaign against flavored tobacco by running a postcard campaign.

But both Starke and Barb Borkent, a system expert in tobacco with the Lung Association of Alberta and N.W.T., said there are other attempts that can be undertaken to decrease youngsters cigarette consumption.

Borkent said the government should follow the educational attempts specified in the tobacco reduction system, such as the expansion of tobacco education programs in schools and peer-led engagements.

She said peer education programs have proved to be a best practice in avoiding youth tobacco consumption.

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