Canada Protects Children, Youth From Tobacco Marketing

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The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, today tabled legislation in the House of Commons to protect children and youth from tobacco marketing that encourages them to smoke.

"Our Government is taking concrete steps to protect young people from marketing practices that entice them to smoke tobacco," said Minister Aglukkaq. "We are following through on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's commitment in 2008 to make tobacco products less affordable, less accessible and less appealing to the most vulnerable segment of our population -- young people."

The proposed amendments to the Tobacco Act , coming just in advance of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, would prohibit the addition of fruit flavours and other additives, such as vitamins or sugar, that give a candy flavour to little cigars (also known as cigarillos), cigarettes and blunt wraps (sheets or tubes of tobacco). The changes would also require that little cigars and blunt wraps be packaged like cigarettes in minimum quantities of 20. This will put an end the industry practice of selling these products in single or small quantity "kiddy-packs" that are affordable to youth.

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The Bill would also remove a current exception in the Tobacco Act that allows ads to be placed in publications with an adult readership of at least 85 per cent. This measure responds to a recent resurgence of tobacco ads in free entertainment weeklies and daily newspapers.

Once adopted, these amendments will position Canada as a world leader in tobacco control.

"These are positive steps forward in the fight against tobacco," said Paul Thomey, Chair of Tobacco Policy for The Canadian Lung Association. "Strong measures such as these not only will protect Canada 's children from the harmful effects of smoking, but will also serve to curtail industry tactics aimed at marketing their products to the youth of this country."

"On behalf of Canada's doctors and their patients, I'd like to thank the Federal Government for introducing these measures," said Canadian Medical Association President Dr. Robert Ouellet. "Closing loopholes is a huge step forward in protecting our children from a deadly addiction to tobacco."

The amendments will be complemented by consultations with a wide array of stakeholders that will take place as part of the renewal of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy – the government's policy framework to reduce death and disease caused by tobacco use – slated for 2011.

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