Imperial Tobacco Canada says it has launched a legal challenge against New Brunswick’s menthol tobacco ban.
The ban of all flavoured tobacco was passed last year, and went into effect on January 1.
“By prohibiting the sale of methol cigarettes, the Government of New Brunswick has stepped beyond its legislative authority, which leaves us with no other choice than to bring this matter before the courts,” said Tamara Gitto, Vice President, Legal and External Affairs at Imperial Tobacco Canada in a press release.
“Legal action is not something we want to undertake, nor something we enter lightly, however the New Brunswick government has left us with no choice in the matter.”
New Brunswick Health Minister Victor Boudreau said his office is aware of the legal challenge.
“This appears to be standard tobacco industry practice around the world when there is any significant tobacco-control legislation brought in place,” Boudreau said.
“Discouraging our residents from smoking, especially our young people, will help prevent chronic diseases, lower health care costs and support a healthier population.”
The Canadian Cancer Society condemned the legal action, saying it “has absolutely no merit.”
“The legal challenge is nothing more than a public relations exercise,” said CEO Anne McTiernan-Gamble in a release.
“Menthol is the most popular flavour among youth, so a ban is absolutely essential to combat youth smoking.”
The release also states that a recent survey showed that 52 per cent of the New Brunswick high school students that that smoke use flavoured tobacco, and 25 per cent of those students smoke menthol.
Imperial Tobacco Canada launched similar legal action against Nova Scotia in May of last year, days before a menthol tobacco ban was implemented in that province.
Nova Scotia’s Health Minister Leo Glavine dismissed the suit, saying it was a tactic by the tobacco industry.
“They’ve lost a battle with science and medicine and so this is another avenue for them to attack what is simply right,” he said at the time.