July 7, 2010
Media Release

Flavoured cigarillos now prohibited in York Region

Enhancement to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) restricts access to flavoured cigarillos
NEWMARKET - The sale and distribution of most flavoured cigarillos is now prohibited in The Regional Municipality of York.   A new enhancement introduced to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) July 1 by the Government of Ontario restricts access to flavoured cigarillos across the province.
 
“Research tells us that cigarillos are more frequently smoked by Canadian youth than adults,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch.  “The new amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act will strengthen the restriction on selling or supplying this type of tobacco product to young people by removing a product from the market that is inexpensive and appealing to youth.”
 
Cigarillos are small cigars wrapped in tobacco leaf or paper containing tobacco.  Some cigarillos have flavouring additives such as fruit, candy and alcohol and are packaged in brightly coloured, youth-friendly inexpensive packs or tubes. 
 
Under the new SFOA enhancements, sale and distribution of flavoured cigarillos are prohibited with the exception of menthol flavour.  All unflavoured cigarillos and menthol cigarillos can continue to be sold but must be in packages of 20 or greater.
 
“The focus of this new legislation is to prevent kids and younger adults from being attracted to the packaging, flavours and price of flavoured cigarillos,” said Town of Markham Deputy Mayor Jack Heath, Chair of the Region’s Community and Health Services Committee.  “Continued support, education and enforcement of this type of legislation will help us remain focused on improving the health of our young people.”
 
Tobacco officers from The Regional Municipality of York will visit each tobacco vendor location in York Region to provide education and ensure compliance with the amended legislation.  Tobacco vendors who are not in compliance with the SFOA could be charged.
 
“Tobacco use is the biggest preventable cause of death and disease in the province, killing nearly 13,000 Ontarians each year,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health.  “Cigarillo products contain the same addictive drug nicotine found in cigarettes and we want to prevent youth addiction to tobacco products.”
 
The SFOA came into effect on May 31, 2006, and is the legislative component of the provincial Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy.  This strategy will improve the health of all Ontarians by preventing children and youth from starting to smoke, helping Ontarians quit smoking and protecting Ontarians from involuntary exposure to second-hand smoke.
 
York Region encourages residents to call and report any vendor selling tobacco and tobacco-related products to under-age youth.  Please call York Region Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or
TTY 1-866-252-9933.   All calls are confidential. 
 
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit www.york.ca

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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
Phone: 905 830-4444 Ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753
Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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