B.C. Opposition Health Critic to introduce bill to ban flavoured cigarillos

Below is a news release of today from B.C. NDP Health Critic Adrian Dix in which he indicates that he will introduce a private member’s bill in the next legislative session (Spring 2009).  Also below is a news release from PSC in response.

For a link to the NDP backgrounder that accompanied the NDP media release, In speaking to the media today, Adrian Dix stated that the government already had the authority, under existing provincial tobacco legislation, to ban flavoured cigarillos.

National momentum on this issue continues, with Ontario legislation adopted at third reading last week on Dec. 4; a Sept. 17, 2008 election commitment by Prime Minister Harper; a federal private member’s bill introduced June 16, 2008 (previous Parliament); a private member’s bill introduced in N.S. on May 7, 2008; a Nov. 28, 2008 PEI Legislative Committee recommendation that tobacco legislation be reviewed immediately in response to concerns including regarding flavoured cigarillos; and a pending private member’s bill in B.C. (announced Dec. 10, 2008 for Spring 2009 introduction).

Dec. 10, 2008
VICTORIA – New Democrat health critic Adrian Dix is calling on the Campbell government to implement stricter regulation of cigarillos, including the banning of flavouring and the sale of singles.

“Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada have said that cigarillos are the new cigarettes for kids,” said Dix. “Despite having similar health risks, cigarillos are not regulated in the same way. For example, cigarillos can be sold in singles and the packaging is not required to carry health warnings. It is time for that to change.

“The various flavours available, including chocolate and raspberry, make cigarillos attractive to youth,” said Dix. “They are also sold individually, making them more affordable. In fact, they are comparable in price with candy bars and soda pop.”

Dix will introduce a Private Members’ Bill in the next legislative session to make cigarillos less attractive for youth by banning flavouring agents and prohibiting them from being sold in packages of less than 20.

Dix also wants to ensure that cigarillos include the same health information, health warnings and toxic constituent information that are on cigarette packages.

According to Health Canada, young Canadians use cigarillos at three times the rate of adults. “This is clearly a youth phenomena, and the way the product is being marketed reflects that,” said Dix.

“We all know the risks associated with smoking,” said Dix. “Tobacco products should not be allowed to mask their harmfulness in tasty flavours and attractive packaging. If we are really committed to keeping youth away from smoking, then including cigarillos as a fully regulated tobacco product makes sense.”

Dec 10, 2008 14:30 ET
B.C. Legislation to Ban Flavoured Tobacco is a Welcome Development

Attention: Health/Medical Editor, News Editor

OTTAWA–(Marketwire – Dec. 10, 2008) – Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) today welcomed the announcement by B.C. MLA, Adrian Dix, that he plans to introduce a private member’s bill to clamp down on the marketing of kid-friendly tobacco products.

“We are delighted that communities across Canada are pushing for stronger laws to protect young people and others from tobacco marketing, and that political support in all quarters and regions is growing,” said PSC’s executive director, Cynthia Callard.

“Private member’s legislation has been the driver of tightening the laws on flavoured tobacco products in Nova Scotia, Ontario, in the federal parliament, and now in B.C.,” said Callard. “We hope that the B.C. legislature will give the same quick passage as in Ontario.”

On December 4, 2008, the Ontario legislature gave third reading to a private member’s bill, co-sponsored by Ms. France Gélinas and Mr. Dave Levac, that had been introduced only a month before. Private Member’s legislation has also been introduced in Nova Scotia by MLA, Joan Massey and in the federal parliament by MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

“The actions today of Mr. Dix show us again how important and valuable it is for elected representatives to be ready to take speedy action when tobacco companies invent new marketing gimmicks to attract new smokers,” said Ms. Callard.

“We hope that measures will soon be in place across Canada to ban flavoured and other new tobacco products,” she said.