Vancouver: During National Non-Smoking Week 2015, the Canadian Cancer Society BC and Yukon is encouraging British Columbians to know the risks of flavoured tobacco in an effort to bring down BC’s smoking rate from 13 per cent to 9 per cent. While BC has Canada’s lowest tobacco use rates, youth are especially susceptible to experiment with flavoured tobacco products which can lead to nicotine addiction.
“Smoking is still the leading cause of cancer deaths in BC. In spite of increased public awareness about the harms of smoking, our youth are increasingly using flavoured tobacco products. This must change,” says Kathryn Seely, Public Issues Director, Canadian Cancer Society, BC and Yukon. “From grape to strawberry, mint and even chocolate, flavoured tobacco is designed to look and smell appealing but it is just as risky and addictive as regular tobacco products.”
Data released as part of the 2014 Youth Smoking Survey showed that almost half of all BC high school students who used tobacco products had used flavoured tobacco products. Fruit and candy flavoured tobacco reduce the harsh effects of cigarette smoke for youth who are experimenting with smoking, making it easier for them to become addicted to tobacco.
“It is astonishing that tobacco – a legal product – kills 1 out of every 2 people when used as intended,” says Seely. “We want to see the BC government take a firmer stance on tobacco control to reduce BC’s smoking rates to single digits.”
To help bring the provincial smoking rate down to 9 per cent, the Society is calling for:
- An increase in tobacco taxes from $47.80 up to $50 per carton (200 cigarettes);
- Regulations that would make outdoor patios of bars and restaurants as well as beaches, parks and playgrounds smoke-free;
- A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and a ban on e-cigarette use in places where smoking is banned; and for
- The BC government to take action to ban flavoured tobacco products next year, if the federal government does not ban the products this year.
Coinciding with National Non Smoking Week 2015, the Canadian Cancer Society is encouraging teens to know the risks of flavoured tobacco through an edgy public awareness campaign entitled Now Available. The campaign, designed in partnership with Rethink, is meant to create a conversation around flavoured tobacco and show the shocking reality that – just like regular tobacco – flavoured tobacco products can cause cancer and other health risks.