Flavoured tobacco ban planned in New Brunswick

Flavoured tobacco ban planned in New Brunswick

The New Brunswick government is snuffing out sales of all flavoured tobacco in the province, including menthol, Health Minister Victor Boudreau announced on Friday.

The legislative amendments will also ban the sale of e-cigarette and e-juices to people under 19 years of age.

"These proposed changes will serve to make smoking less attractive for all New Brunswickers, especially our youth," Boudreau said in a statement.

"Discouraging our residents from smoking, especially our youth, will prevent chronic diseases, lower health-care costs and support a healthier population."

The prohibition on the sale of flavoured tobacco products will start on Jan. 1, 2016.

Barb MacKinnon, the president and CEO of the Lung Association of New Brunswick, said the legislation is on par with the toughest legislation in Canada and welcomes it.

"This particular legislation seems geared especially for our children and young people. We are really looking forward to helping encourage them choose not to smoke with this, especially the flavoured tobacco part of this," she said.

Kurtis Sisk, the CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick, is also pleased with the legislation.

"I think it is long overdue and it is something that we would like to applaud the government for, considering New Brunswick has the highest rates of smoking in the country. It is all about making smoking less attractive and de-normalizing smoking in New Brunswick, especially for our youth," he said.

This is the second piece of legislation introduced this week that puts limits on smokers.

Boudreau also introduced a bill that will extend the ban on smoking in public spaces to patios, walking trails and playgrounds.

That same bill also prohibits the use of e-cigarettes and water pipes anywhere that cigarettes are banned.

A similar ban in Nova Scotia has landed that government in court.

Imperial Tobacco announced on Thursday the company will challenge in court Nova Scotia's looming ban on flavoured tobacco, including menthol cigarettes.

The tobacco company says Nova Scotia's ban is a "knee-jerk" reaction and that menthol-flavoured tobacco isn't popular among young people.

However, Barbara Stead-Cyle, the chief executive of Nova Scotia's Canadian Cancer Society division, said on Friday the lawsuit is "outrageous" and amounts to a "corporate bullying tactic."

Tobacco rules tightened up

Boudreau's legislation that was introduced on Friday also calls for a series of other measures that will take effect in the summer.

Starting on July 1, 2015, the provincial government will:

- ban on the sale of e-cigarettes and their liquids to people under 19

- impose age and promotion restrictions on vapour shops

- prohibit the sale of smoking supplies to minors and hide the supplies from sight. These restrictions will include rolling papers, blunt wraps, cigarette filters, cigarette holders and pipes

- prohibit product displays and advertising inside a tobacconist shop or a vapour shop to be visible from the outside and outside advertisement will be prohibited.

Dr. Cristin Muecke, the acting chief medical officer of health, said in a statement the changes will remove some products that may make smoking seem attractive.

"The latest surveys on tobacco use show that 52 per cent of the youth who have smoked in the last 30 days used flavoured tobacco. There are also data showing that Canadian youth are using e-cigarettes, which reintroduces the act of smoking to a new generation," she said.