TORONTO -- Ontario doctors want the provincial government to reintroduce legislation to ban tobacco products with candy and fruit flavours, and to add menthol cigarettes to the prohibited list.
A previous bill that would have expanded a prohibition on the sale of candy-flavoured tobacco products to youth to a total ban on sales died when the June election, which saw the Liberals returned to power, was called.
That legislation exempted menthol cigarettes from the restrictions on flavoured tobacco, an exemption the Ontario Medical Association wants eliminated.
The Ontario doctors' lobby says new data shows that underage smokers who use menthol cigarettes smoke more often, and are more likely to continue the habit as adults.
"The evidence clearly shows that menthol makes it easier and more likely for kids to smoke," said OMA President Dr. Ved Tandan in a release. "Ontario's doctors are calling on government to ban menthol and candy-flavoured tobacco products now."
The Canadian Cancer Society has also said that menthol cigarettes must be included for any ban on sales of flavoured tobacco to be effective.
Health groups have been urging other provinces to follow the lead of Alberta, which passed a law last December that would ban flavoured tobacco products, including menthol cigarettes. It is still working on the regulations.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation estimates that 153,000 adolescents in Canada use flavoured tobacco products.