Pat Keith

Pat Keith

April 14, 2014
CHRIS MILLER
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER

The popularity of flavoured tobacco is increasing the risk of youth developing a dangerous and lasting addiction to tobacco products.

Some jurisdictions have recognized the need to restrict the sale of certain tobacco products designed to attract young people. Both the Canadian Cancer Society and the Canadian Medical Association have been calling for bans on such products.

Therefore, the Edmonton Archdiocesan Council of the Catholic Women's League of Canada (CWL) passed a resolution urging the federal government to ban the production and import of flavoured tobacco products.

The resolution was passed at the 92nd annual diocesan convention, held April 4-6 in Edmonton. It will be forwarded to the Alberta-Mackenzie Provincial Council of the Catholic Women's League of Canada for consideration at its diocesan convention.

Clover Oryschak, CWL's community life chairperson and a parishioner of St. Thomas More Parish, said tobacco, and therefore flavoured tobacco products, are addictive and dangerous to health.

Oryschak explained that Bill 206, when proclaimed, will ban the sale of flavoured tobacco products to children and youth in Alberta.

Banning production and import of flavoured tobacco products would moderate the resources needed to control these hazardous products, reduce the costs of police intervention and court time to enforce legislation, and eliminate the associated health care costs.

KNOWN TO BE DANGEROUS

"Tobacco products have long been known to be dangerous to human health," said Pat Keith, from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Sherwood Park.

"For the past two decades, health practitioners, consumer groups and governments have put substantial resources and money into anti-smoking campaigns to reduce the personal and social costs of tobacco addiction, and to prevent people from starting this bad habit."

Anti-smoking campaigns have resulted in fewer people using tobacco products.

Keith said this is good for health, but bad for profit margins. In response, tobacco companies have devised new methods of attracting a new generation of people to their products, starting with children by producing flavoured tobacco products, essentially child-friendly, fruit flavours put into addictive substances.

"Flavoured tobacco products include cigarettes, cigarillos, chewing tobacco, water pipe tobacco, known as shisha, that are packed in attractive, colourful wrappers that mimic felt pens, lip gloss and candy packages. They are marketed to the very young," said Keith.

These products are often sold individually, making them easy on the wallet for children. The products are available in dissolvable strips, lozenges and candies that sometimes contain three times more nicotine than a cigarette.

STILL AVAILABLE

"Alberta is one of the few provinces that have adopted legislation, which is Bill 206, against the sale of flavoured tobacco products to children and youth. This means the products are still available, but you must be 18 to purchase them," she said.

Keith said a total ban of these products will protect youth from their detrimental effects.

The action plan is for CWL members to contact provincial politicians and members of Parliament urging the federal government to ban the production and import of these products.