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May 26, 2015
Toronto, ON – The Ontario Lung Association congratulated the provincial government on today’s vote at Queen’s Park confirming passage of Bill 45, Making Healthier Choices Act. “This legislation is a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to protect the health of current and future generations of young Ontarians,” said George Habib, president and CEO of the Ontario Lung Association.
The new law bans the sale of flavoured tobacco products, including menthol, increases penalties for selling tobacco to minors and regulates the sale and use of electronic cigarettes. The Act also requires chain restaurants to list calorie counts on their menus and menu boards.
“More than half of Canadian youth who use tobacco are using flavoured products and almost one in three used menthol cigarettes in the previous month,” said Tirthesha Pandya, a 16-year-old high school student and youth volunteer with the Ontario Lung Association.
“Young people are attracted to flavoured tobacco because it tastes like candy and seems less harmful,” she said. “Nearly everyone who becomes addicted to tobacco starts as a teenager and thinks they can quit any time. It’s only later that they learn just how difficult quitting really is.
“By taking youth-targeted flavoured tobacco products off the market, the Making Healthier Choices Act offers a far better solution by helping teens not to start smoking in the first place,” said Tirthesha.
Said George Habib: ”While we celebrate the public health benefits that will flow from the Making Healthier Choices Act, we are mindful that smoking remains the leading cause of preventable illness and premature death in Ontario. We look forward to working with the government on new policies to improve the lung health of all Ontarians.”