Friday, June 5, 2015

Will Saskatchewan Ban Sale of Menthol Cigarettes?

 “Out of 15 to 19 year olds in Saskatchewan, 20 per cent smoke,” said Saskatchewan Lung Association health promotion vice-president Jennifer Miller.

That’s one of the highest smoking rates among youth in the country.

“If we look at the last three years the Canadian numbers have gone down about three per cent but in Saskatchewan we’ve only gone down just over one per cent,” said Miller.

Sunday marked World No Tobacco Day and the day Alberta became the latest province to take menthol tobacco products off the shelves, snuffing them out at the end of September. This comes as most flavoured tobacco products are also being pulled.

“The most important thing is that we help protect the health of Albertans and particular our youth, the research was really clear that this step needed to be taken to do so,” said Alberta Health Minister Sarah Hoffman in Edmonton on Sunday.

“There’s a misperception that youth don’t use menthol products but what we know is that it’s actually the flavour of choice for youth,” said Miller.

Nova Scotia set the bar removing flavoured tobacco and menthol Sunday. Other provinces are moving in that same direction.

The Saskatchewan Lung Association feels the Saskatchewan government should also ‘butt out.’

“We don’t have to open up legislation for this … it’s a simple regulation, they have the regulatory authority to make this change and they need to step up, we’re really being tired of being the last province to be doing this,” said Miller.

The provincial government says it is committed to reducing tobacco use in Saskatchewan, especially when it comes to youth and is working on a provincial reduction strategy. It’s also monitoring Health Canada’s approach to the federal government’s Tobacco Control Act.

A bill was passed in Manitoba Monday to regulate electronic cigarettes and in Quebec, three tobacco companies have been ordered to pay $15 billion in damages an historic class action lawsuit.


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