The P.E.I. government has approved a ban on the sale of flavoured tobacco products to come into effect May 1, 2017.

The new provincial regulations would ban the sale of any tobacco products which contain any additive meant to give the product the aroma or taste of anything but tobacco, "including the aroma or taste of candy, chocolate, fruit, a spice, an herb, an alcoholic beverage, vanilla or menthol."

The new regulations are "among the most comprehensive and protective in the country," according to Marlene Mulligan, executive director of the Canadian Cancer Society - PEI Division.

"We are extremely pleased that the province of P.E.I. has approved a full ban on all flavoured tobacco including menthol," said Mulligan. "It is a key strategy for reducing our smoking rates and protecting our children."

High rate of young smokers

According to the most recent information from Health Canada, P.E.I. has one of the highest youth smoking rates in the country. In a survey conducted during the 2014-15 school year, 6.6 per cent of Island students in grades 6-12 said they were smokers, compared with the national rate of 3.4 per cent.

The Canadian Cancer Society has long maintained the position that flavoured tobacco products appeal primarily to young people, and has focused its efforts to try to have the products banned.

Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario and Alberta have all brought in bans on at least some flavoured tobacco products.

In some cases, Imperial Tobacco Canada responded by filing lawsuits where provinces have banned menthol products — including those in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Ottawa has also committed to a federal ban on flavoured tobacco products, with public consultations on a proposed ban held earlier this year.