Ban flavoured tobacco products

..."I feel it is important to address this concern specifically because of the way these products are being marketed towards youth."

I am a third year nursing students at UBC-Okanagan and writing in regards to the growing amount of flavoured tobacco products available today.

With National Non-Smoking week upon us, I feel it is important to address this concern specifically because of the way these products are being marketed towards youth.

When you hear the flavours cherry, pear, apple, chocolate, etc., tobacco products probably don’t immediately come to mind, but nowadays these flavours and many more are available in a wide variety of tobacco products.

Elaborate colourful packaging is used to make products much more enticing. With our research it’s become very clear just how obvious the tobacco industry gears the marketing of these products to youth.

Flavours help to mask the taste of tobacco and to make smoking more appealing. Young people are more likely to try smoking if something tastes like, say, a candy apple.

Products are also available individually at a price for less than a toonie, so youth can easily afford them. Parental awareness is crucial, as many parents may not even recognize a tobacco product in their child’s bag, because they look so similar to makeup, markers and candy products.

Research shows that smoking rates are decreasing which means the tobacco companies are losing money.

So, to make up for losses they have invested billions of dollars in products to get youth hooked, as it is a well-known fact that young people are most likely to take up smoking, become addicted and then continue to smoke throughout adulthood.

When the federal government’s Bill C-32 was passed in 2009, it made it illegal for tobacco products under the weight of 1.4g and with a filter to be flavoured.

So what did the tobacco companies do? They simply increased the weight and removed the filter in some products to get around this law.

Statistics show that 61 per cent of all youth age 15-19 who smoke are using flavoured tobacco such as menthols, smokeless tobacco, or little cigars know as cigarillos.

As a nursing student this is extremely concerning. I see the devastating effects smoking has on people. Lung cancer alone causes more deaths than breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer combined as approximately 50 per cent of those diagnosed with lung cancer will die from it.

I comfort families whose loved one has just been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, and sit with the terrified patient who can’t breathe due to his loss of lung function from years of smoking.

A large majority of the patients I care for, who have other serious health problems such as cardiac disease, stroke, and lung disease are or were previously smokers. Many of these health issues could potentially be prevented by quitting or by never having smoked in the first place.

I would like to see a ban on all flavoured tobacco products. Tobacco companies are targeting youth, capitalizing on their susceptibility to peer pressure, and using flavoured, dynamic products to make them more appealing and trendy.

I feel our government has a responsibility to protect the health of our youth and ban these flavoured products. I know the truth; I see it and no matter what flavour it comes in, continued use of these products kills and causes serious health issues that consume exhausted health care dollars.

I feel that if these flavoured, “starter” tobacco products were no longer available, young people would be less inclined to try them, thereby reducing risk of addiction and ultimately decreasing the rates of adult smokers and the harmful complications caused by long-term smoking.

Heather deMedeirosKelowna

Just Posted

Trail military exercises provide crucial training

Exercise Sapper Crucible: ‘The nuts and bolts of what a soldier is’

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

Thrums, Riondel, and Slocan, revisited

Place Names: Scottish author delighted by Thrums name origin

Last stand for Silver City summer

Fall officially arrives in Trail at 6:54 p.m. on Saturday

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Will you be attending a candidates forum in the Trail area?

VIDEO: SPCA ushers in new era with Castlegar facility

$2.69-million project had ribbon cutting on Friday

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

B.C. man who left hospice to run in upcoming election dies

A week after leaving hospice to go to city hall to declare his candidacy, David Hesketh has died.

Most Read