“We are committed to making progress on reducing tobacco use across this province. That is why we banned the use of menthol cigarettes soon after we got elected, and we will continue to work very, very hard on that matter.”
- Premier Rachel Notley, Alberta Legislative Assembly, May 8, 2018
ALBERTA’S LIFE-SAVING TOBACCO LAW HEADING TO THE CHOPPING BLOCK
Edmonton – - Despite being one of the first governments in the world to ban flavoured tobacco, the Alberta government is now sitting on its hands while major sections of the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act (TSRA) are slated for repeal by December 2018. The Statutes Repeal Act mandates that all provincial legislation—or any sections thereof—will automatically expire within five years of passage unless fully proclaimed by Cabinet before the deadline. The TSRA will be five years old in December and major sections remain unproclaimed. The bill could be fully proclaimed in one Cabinet meeting.
“We are deeply concerned with the Alberta government’s failure to enact major sections of the tobacco act that would protect thousands of youth from tobacco addiction and premature death” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health (ASH). “We are even more distressed to know that these sections will heading to the chopping block unless they are proclaimed this fall. The Premier’s caucus fully supported this life-saving legislation when it was approved in November 2013. However it appears that the Alberta government has lost interest in protecting children and youth from the ravages of tobacco use by failing to implement this law in its entirety. One Cabinet meeting could make a world of difference to thousands of Alberta youth”.
The tobacco industry continues to aggressively lobby the Alberta government and it has even hired the Premier’s former press secretary to fight tobacco regulation. To date, the government has refused to disclose the details of meetings and discussions with tobacco lobbyists since it took office in May 2015.
“We urge the Premier and Cabinet to ignore the tobacco lobby and to stand up for Alberta youth by enacting all of the outstanding sections of the tobacco act before they expire” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society, Alberta/NWT Division. “Tobacco companies should not be allowed to dictate health policy in Alberta. Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from tobacco companies and their deadly and addictive products. We implore the provincial government to protect Alberta youth by proclaiming the outstanding legislation at its next Cabinet meeting. Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from tobacco and smoking products.”
The Coalition is sending an open letter to Premier Notley urging her to advise Cabinet to fully proclaim the Tobacco and Smoking Reduction Act at the earliest possible opportunity. Tobacco is the most widespread and deadly form of substance use in Alberta resulting in 3,800 deaths annually. About 28,000 school-aged youth are using tobacco products in Alberta according to the latest Canadian Student Tobacco and Drugs Survey.
The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is a coalition of prominent health organizations working to reduce tobacco use.
Les Hagen at 780-919-5546
Angeline Webb at 780-239-5295