Health Canada announced the amendment to the Tobacco Act on Wednesday, in its continued crackdown on flavoured tobacco. The menthol ban brings the restriction of flavoured products to 95 per cent of Canada’s tobacco market.
Ottawa first restricted the sale of products with flavours such as bubblegum and chocolate, before expanding it to include menthol-flavoured products, in an attempt to reduce the appeal of smoking to youth.
According to Health Canada, data shows that a “significant number” of young people smoke menthol cigarettes.
“Menthol masks the irritating effect of tobacco smoke by making it easier to inhale, which facilitates experimentation by youth,” Health Canada stated in a release.
A number of provinces have already banned menthol cigarettes, including Nova Scotia and Alberta.
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada, killing around 37,000 people every year, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Each cigarette contains more than 4,000 chemicals, 69 of which cause cancer.
“Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians die from preventable diseases that can be directly linked to smoking,” said Health Minister Jane Philpott in a statement. “Research shows that the best way to prevent these deaths is to help people to not take up smoking in the first place.
“By banning menthol in most tobacco products, in addition to flavours previously prohibited, we are taking another important step in the fight against youth smoking,” sais Philpott.
The Canada-wide ban will be rolled out and enforced over the next six months.