Alberta government hasn't decided whether to proceed with ban on menthol tobacco
EDMONTON - Health advocates fear part of Alberta's flavored tobacco legislation that would ban menthol may go up in smoke.
Cathy Gladwin asked Health Minister Stephen Mandel and Premier Jim Prentice about the law last week when they knocked on her door while they were campaigning in Edmonton, where Mandel hopes to win a seat in a by election.
Gladwin, who is on the board of the Alberta Public Health Association, said she asked them not to exempt menthol from the legislation, which was passed last fall, but has not yet been put into effect.
She said Mandel told her that banning menthol is a difficult challenge. He would not give her any assurances, she said.
"It sounds like it is a no-go on menthol," she said in an interview. "That was definitely my impression, that they were going to let menthol be exempt.
"I did say to them, 'If you don't include menthol, it won't prevent youth from taking up smoking.'"
Bill 206 calls for banning flavored tobacco products, but doesn't specifically mention menthol or any other flavor.
The legislation is aimed at restricting the sale of tobacco products that are designed to attract young people. But the law gives the government the authority to apply the ban to everyone.
Mandel said the government is wrestling with what to do about menthol as it develops regulations that will flesh out the law.
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