Ottawa finalizes ban on menthol cigarettes, other tobacco products

Canada has finalized its ban on menthol cigarettes and other tobacco products.
Canada has finalized its ban on menthol cigarettes and other tobacco products. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The federal government has finalized the ban on menthol-flavoured tobacco products, including cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars.

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.

READ MORE: Ottawa moves to ban menthol cigarettes in attempt to curb first-time smokers

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Quebec law banning flavoured tobacco challenged by Imperial Tobacco

“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.

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The Canada-wide ban will be rolled out and enforced over the next six months.

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