B.C. youth join New Democrat health critic in call to ban flavoured tobacco

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VICTORIA – B.C. youth and New Democrat health critic Judy Darcy are calling on the B.C. Liberal government to protect the health of vulnerable young people by banning the sale of flavoured tobacco in British Columbia.

“The B.C. Liberal government has so far failed to step up to the plate and show leadership on banning flavoured tobacco,” said Darcy, MLA for New Westminster. “The current legislation simply does not do enough to protect youth from the harmful effects of tobacco and nicotine, and New Democrats firmly believe this needs to change.”

On Tuesday, Darcy met with young people at her office in New Westminster where they spoke about their concerns. Darcy noted she’s been hearing from youth of all ages who oppose the flagrant marketing of flavoured tobacco products to kids and support an outright ban.

“As a youth myself, I am disgusted that we are letting tobacco companies get away with marketing these products to young people by making them taste and smell less dangerous. They are in essence luring in and targeting youth who are least aware, and most prone, to falling into a terrible life-long habit,” said Saba Fatemi, UBC student and former head of the Cancer Society Club at New Westminster Secondary School.

“The government shouldn’t delay a decision that could affect a person’s health.”

Darcy introduced the Tobacco Control Amendment Act in the legislature in April. The bill would amend the original Tobacco Control Act to prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarillos as well as flavoured tobacco products. These products are packaged to resemble candy and cosmetics and many produce a sweet smelling smoke rather than the traditional cigarette smoke odour.

“We are now in a situation where politicians, the B.C. Cancer Society and youth themselves are in agreement that a ban on flavoured tobacco is in the best interests of young people. All we are missing is leadership from the B.C. Liberal government,” said Darcy.

“They had the power to pass the legislation in the spring session but they failed to do so. Come October when we sit again, I sincerely hope they’ll be ready to make the commitment that the majority of British Columbians are calling for.”