Canada Curtailing 'Candy' Cigarettes Sales

Governments of Ontario, Alberta introducing legislation to ban flavored tobacco products

Deb Matthews

Deb Matthews

TORONTO -- The province of Ontario will follow Alberta's lead and introduce legislation to ban all sales of what they are calling "candy-flavored" tobacco products, reported the Canadian Press.

The Ontario bill would extend an existing restriction on selling candy- and fruit-flavored cigarillos and chewing tobacco to youth to a total prohibition, said the report. There would be an exemption for the sale of menthol-flavored products to adults.

It would also ban other flavored products such as twist sticks, dissolvable strips and lozenges if they contain tobacco, but not if they have only nicotine without tobacco.

The Ontario legislation is one of several initiatives announced by Health Minister Deb Matthews. It would also strengthen the Smoke-Free Ontario Act by increasing penalties for selling tobacco to minors and further limiting smoking in public areas. It would prohibit smoking on playgrounds, sport fields and restaurant and bar patios; increase fines for those who sell tobacco to youth, making Ontario's penalties the highest in Canada; strengthen enforcement to allow for testing of tobacco in waterpipes in indoor public places; and prohibit tobacco sales on post-secondary education campuses and specified provincial government properties.

These measures build on steps the government has already taken, including protecting minors from tobacco exposure in motor vehicles, prohibiting tobacco use in indoor public places and workplaces and banning the sale of flavored cigarillos.

Provincial officials said that preventing youth from starting to use tobacco and protecting them from the harmful effects of second hand smoke will help to achieve the government's Action Plan for Health Care goal to have the lowest smoking rate in the country. They said the province's smoking rate fell from 24.5% in 2000 to 19% in 2012, representing 255,000 fewer smokers.

Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne announced last week that his government would adopt a private member's bill aimed at stopping the sale of flavored tobacco to everyone, not just to minors, the news agency said.

Ontario passed a private member's bill by New Democrat France Gelinas in 2010 that prohibited stores from selling flavored cigarillos to youth.