Public Health Seeks Truth in Advertising

Written by admin, January 21, 2014

January 21, 2014 – Freeze the Industry Campaign Aims to Protect Youth from the Tobacco Industry

When most people hear mention of flavours like “cherry”, “vanilla berry”, or “cotton candy” they immediately think of sweet desserts or ice cream flavours, but in reality, these are also the flavours of a much more sinister product that is catching the eye of Peterborough’s youth.

“Flavoured tobacco and the fancy packages it comes in are appealing to youth, but despite its fancy names and flavours, it still carries a deadly punch,” said Miranda Doris, a Student Peer Leader with the Peterborough-County City Public Health.

According to a recent study released by the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the

University of Waterloo, flavoured tobacco is a product that is popular among Canadian youth.  The report indicates 52% of youth who smoke reported using flavoured tobacco in the last month.

Miss Doris also noted that many of these tobacco products that appeal to youth look and smell like harmless lip gloss and fruit snacks, which youth are already comfortable and familiar with.

Youth across Ontario are uniting under a campaign called Freeze the Industry to persuade governments to ban flavoured tobacco products and educate youth about the deceptive tactics used by tobacco companies to get them smoking early. “Simply put,” said Doris, “Freeze the Industry is a youth-led campaign that is seeking to remove flavour from tobacco industry products. Since youth are the targets of the tobacco industry, we feel compelled to work with our community to prevent youth from experimenting with tobacco in the first place, and becoming addicted to tobacco industry products.”

In 2009 the federal government passed Bill C-32, “The Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act”, which was designed to protect youth from these tobacco industry products. However, to be compliant with the law, the tobacco industry simply altered their products by increasing the weight of individual cigarillos and increasing the number per package to reflect the new law, and as such, was able to continue selling these flavoured products that appeal to youth.

In an effort to achieve the lowest smoking rates in Canada, the Ontario government introduced Bill-131, “The Youth Smoking Prevention Act” on November 15, 2013. If passed, Bill-131 will see the ban of all flavoured tobacco industry products.

“The theme of this year’s National Non-Smoking Week which goes from January 19 to 25, is ‘Truth in Advertising’,” concluded Doris. “If the tobacco industry was being truthful in their advertising, they would have coffins on their product labels, not pictures of fruit.”

At the January Board of Health meeting, action in support of Freeze the Industry was unanimous. As such, the Board is urging people to get involved in this campaign:

1) Talk to your MPP about why you think it’s important to remove flavoured tobacco products

2) Sign the petition – www.freezetheindustry.com/join-the-movement.html

3) Follow us on Twitter – @frztheindustry

4) Join the discussion on Facebook – www.facebook.com/FreezeTheIndustryGelelIndustrie

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For further information, please contact:

Keith Beecroft

Youth Development Worker

(705) 743-1000, ext. 238