Landmark tobacco bill passed by Senate in Canada

New Legislation Bans Flavoured Tobacco Products and Advertising

Landmark tobacco legislation (Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act) - passed by the Senate today - will ban flavoured cigarettes and cigarillos as well as tobacco advertising in magazines and newspapers.

"The adoption of this legislation shows Canada's global leadership in protecting youth from flavoured tobacco products marketed by the tobacco industry," says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. "It will lead to fewer young people starting to smoke and will encourage more adults to quit. We applaud the Senate's action today, as well as the House of Commons for unanimously passing this bill in June."

Measures in the legislation include: - banning flavours in cigarillos (little cigars), cigarettes, and blunts (tobacco rolling papers). The ban will come into effect in retail stores 270 days after Royal Assent (expected on, or before, Thursday, October 8) - prohibiting tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines, which comes into effect immediately

Flavoured tobacco products

"The comprehensive ban on flavouring in cigarettes and cigarillos is crucial to help support efforts to discourage smoking among young people," says Cunningham. "The federal government and Parliament are to be commended for rejecting tobacco industry lobbying to weaken this part of the legislation."

A recent survey of youth smoking habits (2006-2007 Youth Smoking Survey) found a disturbingly high rate of cigarillo smoking among youth.

"With cigarillos available in attractive flavours there is the risk that, in the absence of the new legislation, these products would be a gateway to addiction among kids who would never otherwise start smoking," says Cunningham

Tobacco advertising

The provision in the legislation to remove existing exemptions allowing tobacco advertising in newspapers and magazines is a significant measure.

"We know that reducing exposure to tobacco ads will reduce the use of tobacco products," says Cunningham.

During the 2008 federal election campaign, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised to introduce a law to ban flavours in tobacco products, which appealed to young people. In May 2009 Health Minister Leona Aqlukkaq introduced Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act, which was unanimously supported by the House of Commons.

"This is an example of Parliament at its best," says Dan Demers, Director, Public Issues, Canadian Cancer Society. "The legislation was supported by all political parties recognizing that this was a time to put aside partisan issues so that the health of Canadians, especially children and youth, would be protected."

"Tobacco control has been a priority for the Canadian Cancer Society for many years," says Cunningham. "The passage of this bill is important progress in our ongoing efforts to protect Canadians from the leading preventable cause of disease and death in Canada."




The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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