Edmonton

No menthol ban in tobacco law despite doctors' criticism

Alberta's health minister refuses to back down on his decision to continue to allow the sale of menthol cigarettes, despite criticism from doctors.

Health Minister Stephen Mandel remains steadfast on new legislation

Alberta Health Minister Stephen Mandel will not change tobacco legislation to include a ban on menthol cigarettes despite criticism from doctors. (CBC)

Alberta's health minister refuses to back down on his decision to continue to allow the sale of menthol cigarettes, despite criticism from doctors. 

"Everybody has a right to their own opinion," said Stephen Mandel. "We went through a process and we felt the steps we took were in line with what we needed to do." 

In a public letter, Richard Johnston, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said he was "disappointed" that menthol wasn't banned as part of recent changes to tobacco legislation.

"I understand that no North American jurisdiction so far has implemented a menthol ban, while the European Union is in the early stages," Johnston wrote. "There were hopes that Alberta might take the lead."

The AMA believes menthol makes cigarettes more attractive to young people.

Mandel said the AMA president needs to let the ink dry on the amendments to the legislation first. 

The AMA says it will continue to push for a ban on menthol tobacco products. 

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