The Ontario government and the NDP opposition party in Ontario recently introduced bills to ban flavours in tobacco. It is their position that flavours attract youth to start smoking. While there is no scientific research to support this opinion, there is an election on the horizon and anything anti-tobacco seems to be popular and targeted at the 80% odd percent of Ontarian’s that do not smoke.
So, maybe an analogy is required for this latest measure to ban flavours.
Can you imagine a chef cooking without spices. He or she would severely be restricted to create a meal that people would enjoy and come back for. In the world of tobacco, banning flavours would make all companies compete for very very similar raw leaf processed tobacco. Maybe this is an intended or unintended consequence of ill thought legislation.
Would many voting age people support the ban of child oriented flavours with tobacco products? I think the answer is yes. The challenge though, is the great majority of this voting age consumers are not tobacco users. So when legislation like flavour bans is proposed, these adult consumers don’t take notice, or don’t care.
The last time flavour bans were discussed, the government did not realize that most tobacco included american blends have some form of flavour agents – making almost all tobacco illegal (if the flavour ban was successful).
One can only wonder if adult Canadian’s will rise and seek to protect their free will. Or the ones who desire flavoured tobacco, will simply buy untaxed tobacco (contraband) or buy it south of the border.
Don’t let Bill 131 be passed without at least strong industry consultation with retailer, manufacturer and public opinion.