Ottawa moves to ban menthol cigarettes citing appeal to first-time smokers - InfoNews

Current Conditions


Ottawa moves to ban menthol cigarettes citing appeal to first-time smokers

Cigarettes with a squeezable menthol capsule inside the filter are displayed in Toronto on November 18, 2015.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
May 01, 2016 - 6:00 AM

OTTAWA - Like lawn darts, baby walkers and lead soldiers, menthol cigarettes are being consigned to the bad-idea dust bin of history.

The federal government has served notice it is moving to ban the sale of menthol cigarettes because of their appeal to young and first-time smokers.

A posting in the latest Canada Gazette starts the clock on a 30-day public comment period, but the writing has been on the wall since at least 2009 when the former Conservative government banned most flavoured tobacco products. Menthol cigarettes, a relic of the 1960s and a perennial adolescent rite of passage, were exempted — sparking five consecutive years of sales increases.

That's about to end.

"Tens of thousands of Canadians die each year from smoking-related illness and studies have shown that the younger a person starts smoking, the greater the risk of premature death," Health Minister Jane Philpott said Friday in a news release.

"By banning menthol flavouring, which is shown to be popular amongst those under 25, we can help steer youth away from experimenting with tobacco in the first place."

The notice from the Health Department says a smoking survey in 2012 found that 37 per cent of young smokers reported smoking a menthol cigarette in the previous 30 days.

In 2014, menthol tobacco products made up almost five per cent of the total tobacco market, with menthol cigarettes making up 98 per cent of sales.

"While no specific data is available on the proportion of youth who use cigars and blunt wraps that contain menthol, the demonstrated interest of youth in menthol cigarettes and in flavoured tobacco products in general makes it is reasonable to infer that youth would find them appealing as well," the Canada Gazette says.

Five provinces — Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia — already ban menthol cigarettes and Prince Edward Island has legislation pending.

Rob Cunningham of the Canadian Cancer Society says menthol serves no other purpose than to mask the harsh taste of tobacco for new smokers.

"It makes it easier for kids to experiment and get addicted and it serves as a bit of a local anesthetic," Cunningham said in an interview.

"There's absolutely no reason why an addictive, cancer-causing product such as cigarettes should have flavouring to make it taste better. And so a ban on menthol is absolutely the right thing to do."

Health Canada says tobacco use is the country's leading, preventable cause of disease, responsible for more than 37,000 deaths each year and costing $4.4 billion in direct health-care costs.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

  • Popular kelowna News
  • Comments
  • Police search for missing Kelowna woman
    KELOWNA - Kelowna RCMP are asking for the public's help in finding a missing 27-year-old woman. RCMP say Joenna Saunders was last heard from on Nov. 27. She was reported missing on Dec.
  • Girl opens Christmas present she gave to boy when she dumped him in 1971
    ST. ALBERT, Alta. - A man in Edmonton who made international headlines for holding onto a wrapped Christmas gift from a high-school girlfriend who dumped him nearly 50 years ago finally learned wh
  • Water quality advisory in effect in North Okanagan
    NORTH OKANAGAN - The district has issued a water quality advisory for the North Okanagan. The Regional District of North Okanagan Silver Star Water Utility in conjunction with Interior Healt
  • Kamloops Fire Rescue respond to McDonalds deep fryer fire
    KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops McDonalds was temporarily closed last night due to a small deep fryer fire. Kamloops Fire Rescue arrived at the McDonalds location in Sahali at about 11:30 p.m. last ni
  • Vernon fast food restaurant held up by man with syringe
    VERNON - RCMP are on the hunt for a suspect after a robbery at a Vernon restaurant earlier this week. A man threatened staff with an allegedly contaminated needle on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at Wr
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile