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Archived - Government of Canada takes action to protect youth from the dangers of tobacco use

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Proposed measure delivers on the Prime Minister's commitment to further restrict flavoured cigars

September 29, Ottawa, ON - Health Canada

Today, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health, announced new proposed regulatory amendments that would further restrict flavoured tobacco products that appeal to youth.

Canada was the first country in the world to take action on "little cigars" in 2010 when The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth came into force, banning the use of flavoured additives that contributed to making cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps more appealing to youth. Unfortunately, tobacco companies have skirted the law and found a "loophole" through the introduction of new cigars in the same "kiddie" flavours as those that were on the market before the 2009 law, merely changing the weight or removing filters. The proposed changes would close this loophole.

Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Canada, responsible for more than 37,000 deaths each year. The direct health care costs of smoking and other tobacco uses are estimated at $4.4 billion annually, and the total burden to the economy including indirect costs (e.g. lost wages, productivity) is estimated at $17 billion per year. Minister Ambrose is a strong advocate to end smoking, especially among our youth. Young Canadians continue to use flavoured tobacco products, including flavoured cigars.

A formal 30-day consultation period will begin when a Notice describing the proposed amendments is published in Canada Gazette, Part I on October 10, 2014. Interested stakeholders are encouraged to submit their comments on the proposal online or via regular mail during the consultation period.

Due to a lack of evidence on the benefits or harms of e-cigarettes, Minister Ambrose announced that she is asking the Standing Committee on Health to study the potential risks and benefits of e-cigarettes and to seek the advice of a variety of health stakeholders.

Later this week, Health Ministers from across Canada will gather for their annual meeting. At this meeting, Minister Ambrose and her colleagues will discuss tobacco and e-cigarettes.

Quick Facts

  • The 2012-2013 Youth Smoking Survey found that among youth (grade 6 to 12) reporting having used at least one tobacco product in the last 30 days, two in five (40%) reported using a flavoured little cigar or a flavoured cigar during the same period, representing approximately 126,000 Canadian youth.
  • The Youth Smoking Survey also found that the prevalence of youth in grades 6 to 12 who reported using at least one flavoured tobacco product in their lifetime has decreased from 19% in 2008-2009, to 15% in 2012-2013.
  • The proposed amendments would prohibit most flavours and selected additives in cigars weighing more than 1.4 grams but less than 6 grams, as well as in cigars that use tipping paper or do not feature a wrapper fitted in spiral form.


"Our Government is committed to taking action to protect children and youth from the dangers of smoking. Our Government is proposing to take action to close this loophole and continue to take necessary steps to ensure smoking rates decrease."
Rona Ambrose

Minister of Health

"Currently, without scientific evidence demonstrating safety or effectiveness, we continue to urge Canadians against the use of these e-cigarettes. We have heard that e-cigarettes may be a gateway for teens to begin smoking, while also having the potential to serve as a smoking cessation tool. Today, I am asking the Standing Committee on Health to undertake a thorough study on e-cigarettes and provide a report."
Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health

"Smoking tobacco is still the leading preventable cause of premature death in Canada. Restricting flavoured tobacco can help prevent children and others from using a highly addictive and harmful product."
Dr. Heather Bryant
Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

"Close analysis of the reported harms and benefits of e-cigarettes is a positive step toward public health policies. Many provinces and municipalities have already begun restricting the use of e-cigarettes. As a recent World  Health Organization statement makes clear, a balance is needed between the use of e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation tool and the significant strides made over the years in de-normalizing smoking."
Dr. Heather Bryant
Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased that the federal government is taking action on flavoured tobacco and also consulting on e-cigarettes. The Foundation strongly urges comprehensive protection against flavoured tobacco. The government's proposal to close loopholes in the existing tobacco flavours legislation represents a good first step. The Foundation looks forward to providing input as Health Canada and Parliament address flavoured tobacco legislation and potential e-cigarette regulations."
Mary Lewis
Vice President, Research and Knowledge
The Heart and Stroke Foundation

Associated Links


Michael Bolkenius
Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose
Federal Minister of Health

Health Canada
Media Relations

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