Gas stations in Espanola, Elliot Lake, and across Ontario will soon be out of stock of menthol cigarettes. The Ontario government has passed Bill 45, which bans the sale of all flavoured tobacco, and regulates the sale of e-cigarettes.
Nicole McInerney, the Senior Coordinator for Public Issues at the Canadian Cancer Society, says the bill is the most comprehensive legislature for tobacco control in almost 10 years, and came out of a campaign.
“The End the Flavour campaign is a youth led campaign that engages youth across the province to expose some of the tactics used by the tobacco industry,” says McInerney. “Such as flavoured tobacco to lure youth to tobacco use and smoking.”
McInerney says staff and volunteers across the province have been talking to students about smoking, with resulted in some shocking numbers.
“Over 57, 000 students between grades six to 12 have reported using a flavoured tobacco product in the last 30 days, which is alarming,” says McInerney. “We look at the vast majority of youth, if they’re going to start smoking, they’re going to do so before the age of 18.”
She says menthols are one of the popular choices for kids to smoke.
“More than 19, 000 Ontario youths, that’s roughly one in four, who report smoking say they’re smoking menthol cigarettes,” says McInerney. “Similar to other flavoured tobacco products, it soothes the throat and makes it easier to smoke.”
She says that’s why it is considered a starter product for youths.
McInerney says the goal is to help Ontario have the lowest smoking numbers. Bill 45 was passed after a youth led campaign, called End the Flavour. No date has been set yet for when the tobacco will be pulled from shelves.