Sask. health ministry considers ban on flavoured tobacco

The Saskatchewan Health Ministry says it is considering a ban on flavoured tobacco products in the province, after a study showed they are a favourite among teens who smoke.

Brightly coloured, flavoured products prove popular among teen users

Sask. health ministry considers ban on flavoured tobacco after studies show they're popular among teens who smoke, Dani Mario reports. 1:36

The Saskatchewan ministry of health says it's considering a ban on flavoured tobacco products after a recently released study revealed they're a favourite among teens across Canada.

"We're looking at this very closely, and wanting to move on this as quickly as possible, and we hope to see something in the next number of months," said Tim Macaulay who spoke for the ministry on Tuesday.

One of Macaulay's biggest concerns is the target audience of these products.

"Well, the immediate thought is, this is targetting youth," said Macaulay.

The flavoured tobacco products are affordable and attractively packaged.

For example, the packaging of flavoured cigars is brightly coloured. They come in flavours like cherry, watermelon and grape. 

"Kind of looks like a lip gloss or something. The package makes it look like that. Until you read the label and it says cigar," said Regina teen UsaidSiddiqui

The latest Youth Smoking Survey from the Canadian Cancer Society found that 54 per cent of tobacco-using teens used flavoured products, like small cigars called cigarellos.

There are already laws in place meant to curb the sale of flavoured cigarellos

But lawmakers defined the cigarellos at a certain weight, and described them as having filters. 

Tobacco companies have removed the filters and made the product heavier, so they can be sold along with any other tobacco products. 

Donna Pasiechnik of the Cancer Society's Regina office says her organization is working hard to broaden the ban to eliminate this type of product altogether.

"We believe that a lot fewer young people would experiment.", Pasiechnik explains.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Health was surprised at how quickly tobacco companies circumvented the new rules. Now, it's considering a flavour ban, provincially.

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