Dear Editor: It is recognized that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable illness, disability and premature death in Canada.
As a society we are making inroads in rates of smoking, but the most vulnerable among us are still starting to smoke in unacceptable numbers.
The latest National Youth Smoking Survey revealed that 52 per cent of high school students in Canada who had used tobacco products in the previous 30 days had used flavoured products.
The Federal Tobacco Act prohibits flavours, other than menthol, in cigarettes and cigarillos (cigars weighing less than 1.4 grams). However, some tobacco companies have found a way around the legislation by increasing the weight of cigarillos to more than 1.4 grams. This allows them to add flavours, such as chocolate, mint and strawberry, to the product.
These flavours are immensely appealing to youth and young adults, thereby increasing the likelihood that they will start smoking.
Provinces throughout Canada are considering a ban on all flavoured tobacco.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation strongly urges the government of Newfoundland and Labrador to act now and introduce legislation banning these products.
Swift action is needed to product our youth from the tragic health consequences of tobacco use.
Heather Percy, BN RN, director, Health Promotion and Resuscitation Programs, Newfoundland and Labrador Heart and Stroke Foundation