Crusader out to warn of flavoured tobacco products
A teen on a mission to stomp out flavoured tobacco products in Alberta visited Peace River this past week.
Jianna Marin is an 18-year-old student from Llloyminister Comprehensive High School who has been pushing the provincial government to pass Bill 206, a bill to ban flavoured tobacco in Alberta. She spoke to Peace River High School students on May 21.
The issue, Marin said, is that flavoured tobacco products obscure the harmful realities of tobacco behind flavours like strawberry, mint or blueberry.
Several provinces including New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have some form of regulation in place regarding flavoured tobacco, according to the Newfoundland and Labrador Alliance for Control of Tobacco provincial status sheet.
Bill 206, a complete ban on all flavoured products would go a step further than any other province by adding menthol to the list.
“If it went through it would precedent setting,” said Marin.
Marin said she is confident the bill will become law. It has already been voted on and passed by the Alberta Legislature, but is awaiting proclamation.
Marin had formed the student group Lloyd Flavour Gone to help push the government to ban flavoured tobacco.
In 2012 Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne invited her to speak on behalf of Alberta’s youth at the launch of the Alberta tobacco reduction strategy.
She launched the group Lloyd Flavour Gone group after she and her mother noticed that lots of high school students, including those in sports were using tobacco products, the majority of which were flavoured.
A 2010-2011 youth smoking survey of Alberta high school students conducted by Health Canada showed flavoured cigarillos account for 35% and menthol cigarettes 28% of flavoured tobacco use amongst teens.
Of those flavoured tobacco users 94% use multiple types of flavoured tobacco.
She said the key part of the bill is the menthol ban.
“Any legitimate attempt to curb flavoured tobacco use among youth must include a ban on menthol,” said Marin.
Marin’s speaking tour has taken her to nine different high schools across the province since May 9. After her speech in Peace River she went back to Lloydminster to continue her studies.
“Most of the Lloyd Flavour Gone group stepped off a bit after the bill was passed,” said Marin.
“But with the uncertainty in the government I want to make sure that the bill doesn’t get forgotten and receives proclamation.”