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Candy-flavoured mini-cigars still being sold: Gelinas

Despite legislation passed last December, candy-flavoured cigarillos are still available for sale in Ontario.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act (Cigarillos) banned the sale of flavoured cigarillos and required that non-flavoured cigarillos be sold in packages of at least 20 units.

The amendment also granted regulatory authority to ban other flavoured tobacco products. Despite this, the bill has not been enacted by government, meaning the mini-cigars are still available across Ontario.

Concern was raised that the candy-flavoured cigarillos, in their brightly coloured packaging, were marketed towards teens. Since cigarillos are classified as cigars due to being wrapped in tobacco leaf instead of paper, they did not fall under the same regulations of cigarettes.

Cigarillos contain nicotine and are addictive, but do not come with the health warning labels. A study done by the University of Waterloo reports that 35 per cent of students in grades 10 to 12 have tried cigarillos.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas and Dave Levac, Liberal MPP for Brant, introduced the Private Member's Bill last fall. The bill became law on Dec. 10, 2008.

"The bill received Royal Assent last December," said Gelinas, in a press release. "Yet in stores across Ontario today, young adults with $1.25 in their pocket can still legally purchase individually wrapped, candy-flavoured cigarillos."

The Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco have all called for a ban on flavoured and individually-packaged cigarillos.

"I would have thought the Ministry of Health Promotion would work to limit preventable cancers," said Gelinas. "Instead, the Ministry seems to be blocking the enforcement of a law that was passed by MPPs from all parties."