Editor, The Times:
Chocolate, cherry, peach, mint and vanilla. Treat or trick? Though they may sound like treats, these are flavours of tobacco we want to see removed from the shelves in 2014. In honor of Canada’s National Non-Smoking Week, it’s time we say goodbye to the brightly packaged, highly addictive, candy-coated carcinogens.
We know youth are the biggest users of flavoured tobacco, but what may be surprising is that youth are also the biggest supporters of a provincial ban. Recent polling reveals 81 per cent of BC teens ages 15-18 agree the B.C. provincial government should adopt legislation to ban all tobacco products with fruit and candy flavours. An additional 74 per cent of B.C. adults (18+) also support a ban on flavoured products.
Flavoured tobacco products carry the same health risks and are just as addictive as regular tobacco products, though their candy-like packaging suggests otherwise. What’s worse is that fruit, candy and menthol-flavoured products reduce the harsh experience of cigarette smoke, making it easier for youth who are experimenting with smoking to become addicted to tobacco.
Tobacco-use claims the lives of more than 6,000 British Columbians each year and it’s completely preventable. It’s time for a change. Help stop smoking before it starts by asking your local MLA and B.C. Health Minister to take action and create a provincial ban of all flavours of tobacco products.
Randene Wejr, regional director
Patti King, team leader, Health Promotion
Canadian Cancer Society