July 5, 2010
For immediate release
OTTAWA - Effective today, the sale of cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps that contain specified additives, including most flavouring agents, is prohibited. With this latest ban, key changes to the Tobacco Act that protect young people from the marketing practices of tobacco companies are now fully in force.
"The Government of Canada has delivered on its promise to protect young people from tobacco industry marketing practices that encourage them to smoke," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.
"The amendments to the Tobacco Act position Canada as a world leader in tobacco control."
The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, which became law on October 8, 2009, included a transition period for retailers and manufacturers to adjust to some of the changes. On April 6, a ban on the sale, including retail and duty-free, of little cigars and blunt wraps packaged in less than 20 units, came into effect.
The Act also extended restrictions on the advertising of tobacco products. Immediately following Royal Assent of the legislation in October, an exception in the Tobacco Act that allowed advertising to be placed in publications with an adult readership of at least 85 per cent was removed. This measure responded to a resurgence of tobacco advertising in free entertainment weeklies and daily newspapers that are accessible to youth.
As this prohibition comes into force, Health Canada will be actively monitoring compliance among all levels of the supply chain, including manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers. When Health Canada inspectors have reasonable grounds to believe that the Act has been contravened, appropriate measures are taken. Inspectors have the authority to issue warnings, seize the product, or refer the case for prosecution.
The Government of Canada is also taking steps to prevent the illegal sale of tobacco products, including those prohibited under the Tobacco Act. On May 28, 2010, Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Canada Border Services.
Agency and the Canada Revenue Agency announced a $20-million investment to combat contraband tobacco and reduce the amount of tobacco consumed. The availability of cheap, illegal tobacco products undermines many of the public health measures put in place to reduce tobacco use. Health Canada will use its share of this funding to support the Government of Canada's efforts to reduce the number of Canadians who smoke. Such efforts help reduce the demand for tobacco products - both legal and contraband.
Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
Federal Minister of Health