With rising concern about the number of teens using tobacco products, Ontario lawmakers are cracking down with a new “Making Healthier Choices Act”. The new laws will give Ontario the most stringent tobacco policies in Canada. If the bill passes legislation, it will completely ban flavored tobacco products from menthol cigarettes to flavored chewing tobacco and even wine-dipped cigars. Even flavored rolling papers will be banned.
Canada’s largest tobacco company, Imperial Tobacco, supports the ban on flavored tobacco to an extent, but they think banning menthol cigarettes is a big mistake. In fact, Imperial’s Nadine Bernard said it would likely lead many adult menthol smokers to turn to illegal black market situations to buy their cigarettes.
Lawmakers aren’t giving much thought to adult smokers with the new laws. Instead, they are focusing on statistics from a recent survey of Canadian students. That survey revealed that four percent of students are regular smokers and eight percent reporting trying a flavored cigarette in the last 30 days. Menthol cigarettes seemed least appealing to teens with only two percent of students saying they smoked a menthol within the past month.
The medical community has been very verbal in their support for the “Making Healthier Choices Act”. Former president Dr. Scott Wooder said the new rules could save lives in long run. “Ontario’s doctors welcome this legislation that works to protect our children from flavored tobacco products and reduce the number or youth who start smoking,” Dr. Wooder said.
Of course, there are also some Canadians that are strongly opposed to the new act and the National Coalition Against Contraband Tobacco has been leading the charge to reverse the menthol ban. Spokesman Gary Grant said, “Banning legal menthol products, about 5 percent of the market, will only drive consumers to underground illegal channels.”
Do you think smokers will turn to underground markets to buy menthols if the new law is passed? Will it cause a sudden spike in the number of vapers?