March 30, 2009
QUISPAMSIS (CNB) - Upcoming legislation will ban smoking in cars when children are present, and the sale of cigarillos will be restricted, Health Minister Michael Murphy announced today at an assembly at Quispamsis Middle School.
"I'm a father of five, so I feel personally the instinct to protect young people and to empower them to care for themselves as they grow and develop," said Murphy.
An amendment to the Smoke-free Places Act will prohibit smoking in a car when a person under the age of 16 is present. Similar legislation exists in Ontario, British Columbia, Nova Scotia, and the Yukon, and is being introduced in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island.
Research has shown that the effects of second-hand smoke are experienced much more intensely by children than by adults because of young people's higher respiratory rates. In sealed enclosed spaces such as cars, second-hand smoke can reach levels 23 times higher than in a house.
The Tobacco Sales Act will be amended to prohibit the sale of flavoured cigarillos and other tobacco products containing flavourings, unless they have been approved by regulation. The amendments will also prohibit the sale of cigarillos in packages of fewer than 20.
Cigarillos are small cigars about the same size as a cigarette. Individually, they often sell for between $1 and $2. The use of candy and fruit flavourings has made these cigarillos particularly appealing to youth. Health Canada research has shown that one-third of Canadians aged 15 to 19 have tried cigarillos.
"The New Brunswick Lung Association applauds the government of New Brunswick for recognizing these important issues and implementing legislation to protect our society's most vulnerable population," said Kenneth Maybee, president and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association. "Given the serious known health effects that second-hand smoke can have on children, smoking in cars has become a critical public health issue. Flavoured cigarillos that taste like chocolate and strawberry, among other flavours, are designed to entice children and teens."
The legislation is in keeping with the recommendations made by the legislative assembly's Select Committee on Wellness. It was concerned with the increased use of flavoured tobacco products by youth, and recommended restrictions on tobacco products, particularly those that are attractive to children.
Both pieces of legislation will be introduced in this session of the legislature, Murphy said.
"Young people can play a part in helping decrease tobacco use," Murphy told the students. "Governments can pass laws; you can change attitudes. You can tell the adults in your lives not to smoke in the car with you. You can tell your friends not to smoke."
Other government initiatives aimed at decreasing tobacco use include amending the Tobacco Sales Act to ban tobacco displays and point-of-sale advertising, and the launch of a lawsuit against tobacco companies.
MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Cumby, communications, Department of Health, 506-457-3522.