Nova Scotia's top doctor calls for ban on product that flavours tobacco
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 11:09AM ADT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016 11:10AM ADT
Flavoured cigarettes may be illegal in Nova Scotia, but some people have found a way to make their own, and the province’s chief public health officer isn’t happy about it.
The Nova Scotia government became the first in Canada to ban the sale of flavoured tobacco – including menthol – in the spring of 2015, stating it plays a role in youth initiating smoking.
However, a new product used to flavour dry herbs has hit store shelves. The product isn’t illegal, but Dr. Robert Strang hopes to change that.
“Clearly this is going against the intent of that legislation,” says Strang. “Because technically these products don’t contain any tobacco, they’re not covered by our regulations around flavoured tobacco.”
Strang says other provinces have already learned from Nova Scotia’s mistake by creating legislation that also bans flavour cards. He says he wants the flavour cards to be made illegal through federal legislation.
“If not, then we’ll have to look at what we may need to do to change our own regulations here in Nova Scotia.”
The products have been on store shelves in Nova Scotia for a few months. Lee Rabahi, who owns a convenience store in Halifax, says he doesn’t sell them to young people, but there’s nothing stopping youth from buying them.
“We don’t sell lots of them, but the people who know about it buy them, and they come back and buy them again,” says Rabahi.
Strang says the fact that there’s nothing stopping youth from buying the product is especially concerning.
“We didn’t anticipate this. Now it’s here, we’ve got to figure out how we adapt to it,” he says.
The company that makes the flavour cards didn’t respond to a request for comment.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell