flavoured tobacco products

A drawer full of flavoured cigars sold at a Calgary gas station. (Mary-Catherine McIntosh/CBC)

Anti-smoking advocates are calling for a ban on flavoured tobacco after a new survey shows almost half, 49 per cent, of high school students in Manitoba who have used tobacco recently, used flavoured tobacco products.

The analysis of the Youth Smoking Survey data on flavoured tobacco released Monday was prepared by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo.

The Canadian Cancer Society says it shows the federal government's efforts to restrict flavoured tobacco products from being sold in 2010 have failed. The society said fruit and and candy-flavoured tobacco make it easier for youth to become addicted to tobacco.

Murray Gibson of the Manitoba Tobacco Reduction Alliance said the figures are alarming.

"It is terribly frustrating because we need stronger legislation and legislation that is going to deal very directly with all aspects of this," he said.

Gibson said up until recently, smoking among teens between 15 and 19 years of age was going down about 1 per cent annually,.

But because of the lure of fruit and candy flavoured tobacco, that trend has been reversed.

"The flavouring of tobacco products is making smoking more palatable for young people," he said. "So obviously, there is a concern that more young people would start."