Ban on flavoured cigarillos closer to becoming law

By Motorhead · Oct 1, 2009 · ·
  1. Motorhead
    Ban on flavoured cigarillos closer to becoming law

    OTTAWA — A proposed ban on flavoured tobacco products cleared a Senate committee Wednesday without any amendments, allaying fears that Conservative senators planned to water it down at the request of the tobacco industry.

    The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act passed the Senate committee on social affairs as is, and it's expected to receive royal assent after it passes the Senate as a whole later this fall.

    In addition to banning "kiddie packs" of little flavoured cigars called cigarillos, the law will prohibit flavour and additives in tobacco products, with the exception of menthol. This means fruit- and candy-flavoured cigarillos available in flavours such as chocolate, grape and tropical punch will no longer be available for sale in Canada.

    The law will also put an end to all tobacco advertising in outlets that may be viewed or read by youth.

    The idea to ban the flavoured cigarillos began with a private members' bill from Manitoba NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis. It was picked up by the Conservatives, who made it a promise during the 2008 election and introduced the bill earlier this year.

    Wasylycia-Leis said this all stemmed from a youth movement from kids who didn't like to see cigarillos made more appealing to kids by making them taste and smell like candy.

    "Hallelujah," she said after the bill cleared the Senate committee. "I think it shows Parliament working at its best. It's not a perfect bill, but it is consistent with the principles established at the outset."

    The bill passed the House of Commons unanimously in June with the backing of all three opposition parties, but lobbying by the tobacco industry in Quebec loosened the resolve of some Conservative MPs.

    Philip Morris International, and its Canadian unit, Rothmans, argued the bill put at risk 300 jobs at its factory in Quebec City because it doesn't just ban flavours in cigarillos, but also captures some American blended cigarettes, made with sweeteners such as licorice, cocoa or vanilla, which soften the bitter taste.

    At the senate hearing Wednesday, tobacco industry representatives said Canada should have gone the same route as Australia, which banned tobacco products that taste sweet or fruity, but not the additives that make the flavours, which is what Canada has done.

    Debra Steger, an expert in international trade law and spokeswoman for Rothmans, Benson & Hedges, said Health Canada put the bill together too fast and didn't "do its homework."

    "They didn't consult with stakeholders and, as a result, it made a mistake," Steger said.

    However, anti-smoking advocates told the committee they believed the tobacco industry was trying to blow smoke in the committee's eyes, and even use the legislation as an excuse to close the Quebec plant.

    "It's inevitable Rothman's Benson and Hedges is going to close their plant," said Francois Damphousse, the director of the Quebec office of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association. "The only reason that plant is still here is to blackmail you."

    A Health Canada official told the Senate committee Wednesday the bill is intended only to apply to the manufacturing of products intended for the Canadian market. That means American blended cigarettes manufactured in Quebec can continue to be exported, even if they contain any of the flavours and additives banned in Canada.

    Some senators abstained from voting on some parts of the legislation, including Conservative Hugh Segal, who said some of his abstentions come because he didn't like the fact the industry hadn't been consulted enough.

    The confusion in the Conservative camp continued all day Wednesday, and suggested signs of division between the Quebec caucus and the rest of the party.

    Health Minister Leona Agglukaq emerged early in the day to say the Quebec caucus was onside with the bill. Prime Minister Stephen Harper put his weight behind the bill in the House of Commons in the afternoon.

    "This government proposed legislation to protect children against tobacco," Harper said. "It's a measure that the Liberal government refused to do for years. We have also heard some concerns from industry, but at the same time, our priority remains to protect children against tobacco."

    But Josee Verner, a Quebec MP and the minister of intergovernmental affairs, told the House of Commons she and others in her party were worried.

    The legislation "is aimed at protecting our children," she said. "Our goal is the same, but our colleagues from Quebec, including myself, are concerned about the industry and we are trying to find a solution."

    Verner represents a Quebec City riding where Rothmans, Benson & Hedges has a factory.

    Health Canada and anti-tobacco advocates said an amendment to restrict the flavour and additives ban to products that taste sugary or fruity would create a big loophole in the law, and undermine the government's push to reduce youth smoking.

    Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke Free Canada, also said the threat by Rothmans about job losses was just a scare tactic to sow divisions in the government's Quebec caucus. She called this a common tactic by the tobacco industry in their fight against government regulations.

    Mia Rabson and Sarah Schmidt
    Sept 30, 2009
    Winnepeg Free Press and Canwest News Service

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  1. chinpokomaster
    This seems a blatant attack on flavoured blunts, rather than an attempt to deglamourise the tobbaco industry for children.
  2. Motorhead
    Na, the Canadian federal and provincial governments have been passing anti-smoking laws for years. A good lot of them have been geared to 'protect the children'. Swims personal experience is that these flavoured products are very popular among younger smokers.

    As far as blunts go, swim has never in all his years seen anyone use a blunt for smoking marijuana. They might be more popular in larger cities or in BC, but as far he knows they don't seem to be as popular here in Canada.

    This is just another step closer to the demise of big tobacco.
  3. chinpokomaster
    Ah, things are clearly different in Canada from the UK, from what you've said. When young people buy blunt wraps in the UK it's almost exclusively for cannabis use, from what SWIM's seen.
  4. I_8_my yellow crayon
    I run a lounge at a gambling establishment(slots). They just come in about a month ago and took all "single packaged" tobacco items. Like them little cigars that come in plastic tubes kind a thing. They said they will be back in probobly six months to take all flavoured tobacco products, as it is looking like they may be banned. Take in mind that this is just the opinion of a sales rep I work with, and may have no truth to it. They also came in and installed grey plastic cover flaps on the tobacco shelves, tore down all the signs for tobacco products, and made us put all flamible products under counter. Funny how they still advertise 649 lotto though. They brought more signs for that crap. They also send a minor in once per month to see if I may sell him tobacco.

    Source: I work with tobacco/cigars.

    By the way, this is in eastern New Brunswick, Canada
  5. EscapeDummy
    Same here in the US (California), 99% of blunts/cigarillos are used for marijuana.
  6. Motorhead
    Ban on cigarillos clears last stage at Senate

    [IMGL=black][/IMGL]OTTAWA — A ban on flavoured tobacco products will come into effect as early as July, as the proposed private member's bill received royal assent Thursday in the Senate.

    The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act will mean there will be an immediate ban on advertising flavoured tobacco products in newspapers and magazines.

    Flavoured cigars, known as cigarillos, blunt wraps and flavoured cigarettes, will come off store shelves as of July 5, 2010, and a ban at the manufacturer and importer level will come into effect April 6, 2010.

    The cigarillos, which come in a variety of candy flavours including chocolate, grape and tropical punch, were criticized as being marketed to children and youth.

    The ban was put forth by a private member's bill from Manitoba NDP MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

    The bill passed the House of Commons unanimously in June with the backing of all three opposition parties.

    Canwest News Service
    Oct 8, 2009
  7. Motorhead
    Close flavoured tobacco loophole: NDP

    Private member's bill would tighten rules

    It's time to close loopholes that let tobacco companies keep marketing flavoured products to kids, NDP health critic Megan Leslie said Tuesday.

    Leslie introduced a private member's bill, C-631, to tighten the rules around the sale of flavoured little cigars.

    The Conservative government tried to ban the sale of flavoured small cigars, which are thought by some to target teens, but the tobacco industry changed the size of the products slightly and removed the filters to comply with the new law.

    Bill C-32 passed in October, 2009, and the law came into force last July.

    "Despite the ban, you can still find flavoured cigarillos on store shelves today," Leslie said.

    "Health experts agree that flavoured tobacco [products] are consumed by young Canadians as a stepping stone to consuming non-flavoured tobacco products ... these things target young people," she said.

    Leslie pointed to the campaign slogan for the "Flavour…GONE" advocacy group: cancer shouldn't come in candy flavours.

    "It's marketing to kids," she said.

    Luc Martial, a spokesman for Casa Cubana, which distributes flavoured cigars, said most users of flavoured tobacco are legal smoking age, adding that the government's own numbers show fewer teens are using flavoured tobacco.

    "C-32 without question is legislation that was based on an outright lie. Everything that was said about the flavoured little cigars, everything that was said about the industry was not based on fact at all."

    Banning the flavours doesn't do anything to enforce laws against selling tobacco products to teens, Martial adds.

    "The government's own data clearly showed the kids, unfortunately, were getting far greater illegal access in much greater quantities to non-flavoured cigarettes," he said.

    "(But) truth doesn't matter in tobacco."

    Martial says he fears the government will pick up the private members bill and push its own legislation, which is more likely to become law. He says several lawyers have approached Casa Cubana about going to court over the issue but they have so far passed on the offers.

    Laura Payton
    CBC News
    March 08, 2011
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