Multiple amendments to the Tobacco Act have been carried out since 2009 and the final amendment was implemented on Wednesday of this week, calling for a Canada-wide ban on menthol flavored tobacco products. Previous amendments included banning certain flavor additives in cigarettes, paper wraps, cigars, and cigarillos, in order to make them less popular with the youth demographic.
Menthol, in particular, will face an enforced ban across Canada. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health reiterates the hope of many, that “people not take up smoking in the first place”, following the well-known fact that tobacco flavoring will exaccerbate the sheer number of young people experiementing with and beginning the habit. The federal government states also, that “Menthol flavoring makes tobacco smoke easier to inhale”.
By finalizing the last amendment, the federal government is hoping to reduce the number of youth smoking and, in turn, down the road, hopes that this can prevent thousands of smoking-related illnesses and deaths from tobacco products. The federal government continues to voice the concern that, “Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease and premature death in Canada, killing half of all long-term smokers”.
The federal government’s commitment to wipe-out smoking has also led them to point out statistics indicating that “Every 14 minutes, a Canadian dies from a smoking-related illness”. That statistic converts to roughly 37,000 Canadians per year. They also want to assert, “Despite declines in tobacco use in recent decades, in 2015 in particular, approximately 115,000 Canadians began smoking daily”.
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On April 5, 2017, the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy pushed through the final amendment with regard to menthol. This final amendment is the last one coming into force, since 2009.
Between 2009 and 2015, changes began to take effect, with the flavoring of cigarettes and the final change being the most recent, across-Canada ban, specifically of menthol and any other flavoring concept that attempts to make tobacco more desirable.
Though this is the final amendment, the restriction of the use of menthol leads now to another issue which the Canadian government wishes to eventually bring under enforcement. For instance, the federal government wants to continue controlling the implementation of plain and standardized packaging as a requirement for all tobacco products, as well as to “pass new legislation to regulate vaping products, as well as supporting First Nation and Inuit communities in the development and implementation of tobacco control projects that are socially and culturally appropriate”.
This article was written by Donna Murchie.