Poll: Teens Overwhelmingly Opposed to Fruit, Chocolate-Flavor Tobacco Products

Monday, March 17, 2014

No SmokingIn an attempt to make products more appealing, manufacturers will develop unique ways in which to put a different spin on frequently used consumer items, whether they are for personal use or food. Candy companies are particularly well known for this, as ordinary chocolate bars are frequently enhanced with other flavorful combinations.

But flavor enhancements that many Western Canadians aren't OK with are those found tobacco-related products, according to a newly released survey among teens.

More than eight in 10 Canadians between the ages of 15 and 18 said that they were supportive of the British Columbia government enacting legislation that would expressly prohibit cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco, among others, from being injected with flavors, according to a poll performed by Angus Reid on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society. Additionally, close to three-quarters of Canadians over the age of 18 were similarly supportive of this type of ban.

CCS says government should get involved

Kathryn Seely, director of public issues for the CCS in British Columbia and the Yukon, noted that it's not difficult to see where the vast majority of Canadians stand on the somewhat controversial topic.

"These numbers speak loud and clear: British Columbians want a ban in BC on flavored tobacco products," said Seely. "We are urging the BC government to protect children from the predatory marketing practices of the tobacco industry and the products which, through their packaging and appearance, are aggressively targeted to youth."
Already, there are tobacco products available for purchase that have hints of flavor, including smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes, the CCS pointed out. Injecting more products with fruit and chocolate sensations, among others, would make them that much more appealing to young people.

"This is a real issue in BC and we can make an equally real impact by implementing a ban," Seely said. "We believe the BC government has made great strides to help reduce smoking rates in our province but we need to do more and be leaders in protecting youth from these deceptive products."

Though the rate of smoking has declined considerably over the past decade, the drop-off has been substantial in Canada's western-most province. CCS noted that British Columbia's smoking rate is 13 percent - lower than any other province. Nevertheless, the use of tobacco products results in economic losses of more than $2 billion each year in British Columbia alone, mostly due to the health consequences like lung cancer and emphysema.

Health, damage risks associated with smoking

The fourth week in January is National Non-Smoking Week in Canada. It's during this time that health advocates raise awareness about the dangers that are associated with smoking, both in terms of physical well-being and smoking being a fire threat. According to the Canadian Council for Tobacco Control, cigarettes and other smoking materials are the main cause of residential fires in the country, frequently leading to home insurance claims in order to replace what's been damaged. What's more, based on data from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs, an average of 70 people per year die from these smoking materials and 300 more are injured.

The Center for Addiction and Mental Health has provided individuals who want to kick the habit with some recommendations for how they can go about it.

One tip is to make the home and car a smoke-free environment. CAMH indicated that by going smoking outdoors rather than an in an enclosed space - whether a vehicle or a residence - it forces smokers to change their behaviors. And altering habits is a key aspect to quitting cigarettes for good.

It also suggested doing some self-reflection to identify what behaviors serve as triggers. Whatever happens to bring on cravings for a cigarette, write down what they are and then try to come up with a plan for how to avoid it or replace it with something else.