Les Hagen fully supports Ottawa’s plan to end the sale of menthol cigarettes across Canada. He’s the Executive Director of Action on Smoking and Health, and says that menthol and flavored tobacco products are popular among young smokers.
“This is a very very significant measure to keep tobacco companies from targeting youth in this manner. So it’s a very significant step. Obviously Alberta and a number of provinces have already moved on this issue, but we’re delighted to see new national standards.”
Hagen says that smokers are very “brand loyal” and therefore he doesn’t foresee a spike in cross border movement of illegal menthol cigarettes coming up from the U-S.
“Well, some people, if they try hard enough will still be able to get menthol cigarettes, yes, but the experience here in Alberta shows that’s very much the exception to the rule.”
Hagan adds that this move will reposition Canada as a leader in the fight to eliminate tobacco use by being the first nation to ban menthol flavored tobacco.