Press Release

March 8, 2011

Private Member’s Bill To Close Loopholes in Tobacco Law

NDP Member of Parliament responds to youth demands for an effective crack down on tobacco marketing.

(Ottawa)  Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada today welcomed the introduction of a private member’s bill to strengthen the 2009  “Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act.” On Monday, Halifax MP Megan Leslie introduced Bill C-631,  which amends the Tobacco Act by banning flavours in smokeless tobacco and by closing a loophole that has allowed the sale of flavoured cigarillos to continue.
“A ban on candy-flavoured chewing tobacco is long overdue,” said Dr. Atul Kapur, president of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. “The need for such a ban should be self-evident, yet in 2009 parliamentarians respected Health Canada’s request for a year to review the issue before extending the ban on flavours to smokeless tobacco.  Twenty-one months later, Health Canada has failed to provide evidence of why such a ban is not necessary.”
“Legislation to tighten the law with respect to little cigars is also overdue,” said Dr. Kapur.  “It is now clear that some tobacco companies have no intention of respecting the spirit of the law.” C-32 banned flavours in little cigars, but the definition of little cigar used in the original law has proved inadequate.  Tobacco companies have continued to sell little cigars that are very similar to the products that Parliament tried to ban, modified by changing the cellulose-style filter into one made from tobacco. 
“This bill is in keeping with the Prime Minister’s commitment last July to revisit the law if necessary to ensure the spirit of the law was protected and to protect ‘Canada’s youth and children from unscrupulous marketing practices by the tobacco industry’,” said Dr. Kapur.  “We call on legislators to work with the same collaborative spirit that was shown to previous private members’ and government bills’ to ban flavoured tobacco products.”
Since 2008, legislation introduced to ban flavours in tobacco products has included Nova Scotia Bill 159 (2008, Joan Massey, NDP), Federal Bill C-566  (2008, Judy Wasylycia-Leis, NDP), Ontario Bill 124 (2008, France Gelinas, NDP and Dave Levac, Liberal), New Brunswick Bill C-48 (2009, Hon. Michael Murphy, Liberal),  Federal Bill C-32 (2009, Hon. Loena Aglukkaq, Conservative).  Bills were adopted with all party support in Ontario, New Brunswick and at the federal level.
Dr. Kapur praised the young activists who had sustained the “Flavour… GONE” campaign since 2008 . “These young Canadians have sustained a long and effective campaign to bring the concerns of their generation to policy makers.”
For more information:

Cynthia Callard, 613 233 4878