Canada - Parliament member introduced bill to close loophole to amend the Tobacco Act (C-32)..

March 9, 2011 -- Ottawa – Megan Leslie, Member of the Canadian Parliament for Halifax and New Democrat Critic for Health, announced the introduction of legislation, An Act to amend the Tobacco Act (smokeless tobacco and little cigars). Leslie was joined at the launch of her bill (Bill C-631) by members of Flavour… GONE! a youth-driven advocacy group that was instrumental in the passage of bill C-32 that banned flavoured cigarillos and received royal assent in October 2009.
Megan Leslie ----> Mr. Speaker, health experts agree that flavoured tobacco products are consumed by young Canadians as a stepping stone to consuming non-flavoured tobacco products. By banning flavoured tobaccos, we will help reduce smoking rates in Canada.

Bill C-32, which amended the Tobacco Act and came into force in October 2009, was supposed to ban flavoured cigarillos. However, we learned last year that tobacco manufacturers found a loophole in the definitions that allowed them to continue selling flavoured cigarillos.

The bill I am tabling today would close that loophole. The bill would also ban all forms of flavoured smokeless tobacco, something that government officials promised to do by June 2010. They did not fulfill that promise and this bill would fill that legislative gap.

I would like to thank my New Democrat health critic predecessor, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, for her significant efforts to have flavoured tobacco banned in Canada and the work that led to the passage of Bill C-32. While she is no longer a member of Parliament, her legacy of good work remains a testament to her time in office.

“Bill C-32 was supposed to have banned the sale flavoured cigarillos but we learned last year that tobacco manufacturers had found a loop hole in the bill’s definitions that allowed them to continue to sell flavoured cigarillos,” said Leslie. “Candy-flavoured cigarillos continue to be a means for the tobacco industry to make profits at any cost, without regard for the fact that flavoured tobaccos have been linked to increased tobacco use by youth.”

Media outlets reported in August 2010 that flavoured cigarillos were still being sold in Canada, because the definitions in C-32 did not apply to larger cigarillos that do not have filters. Leslie’s PMB closes that loop hole and extends the ban to flavoured smokeless tobacco products, something that government officials told the Standing Committee on Health in June 2009 would be done by June 2010.

“This bill (C-631) offers Parliamentarians the opportunity to finish the job of protecting youth from candy-flavoured tobacco products,” Dr. Dr. Atul Kapur, President of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. “We call on parliamentarians to follow the cooperative spirit that facilitated the passage of C-32 and to support this bill’s quick passage.”

C-32 was based on a PMB tabled in 2008 by New Democrat Judy Wasylycia-Leis that banned flavoured tobacco products. However, the government version of the bill did not ban flavoured smokeless tobacco products, and did not use the tighter definition of cigarillo that was contained within Wasylycia-Leis’ bill.

“Cancer shouldn't come in candy flavours,” said James McInerney, a youth advocate for the FlavourGONE movement. “Youth across Ontario are standing up with a united voice saying enough is enough when it comes to tobacco industry marketing tactics. We need MP's from all parties to stand up and support legislation removing flavours from all tobacco products.”

Leslie is calling for the government to take immediate action to close the flavoured cigarillo loophole, and to extend the ban to flavoured smokeless tobacco products.

Reference: New Democrats introduce bill to improve and extend ban on flavoured tobacco products NDP Health Critic calls on government to correct loophole in the Tobacco Act, New Democratic Party, 3/8/2011.

Some C-32 related news briefs: (Bill C-32 is an amendment to the Health Canada Tobacco Products Control Act (effective January 1989) proposes to ban the sale of all small little cigars and flavored tobacco.)
Canada - tobacco companies accused of skirting the law that bans the sale and distribution of flavored cigarillos..;
Canada - Bill C-32 besides banning flavored tobacco will also further limit advertising..;
Canada - tobacco products readily available on Native reservations.;
Canada - loophole flavored cigarettes, cigarillos banned, manufactures may start making larger flavored cigars..;
Canada - ban on flavored tobacco products comes into effect July 2010..;
Canada - youth survey finds levels of cigarillo use persist, but users don't consider themselves 'smokers'..;
Canada: a bill introduced to snuff out drive to recruit young smokers.;
Canada - Bill C-32 to amend Tobacco Products Control Act..



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