Edmonton– The Campaign for a Smoke-Free Alberta is urging the Alberta government to take life-saving tobacco legislation off the list of laws to be revoked in 2019 under the mandatory requirements of the Statutes Repeal Act. The Repeal Act calls for the mandatory repeal of any legislation — or any section thereof — that is not proclaimed into force by Cabinet within five years of passage. Passed by the Alberta Legislature in 2013, several sections of the Tobacco Reduction Amendment Act remain unproclaimed by Cabinet, including a ban on all forms of flavoured tobacco and a ban on the use on waterpipes (hookahs) and vaping devices in public establishments and workplaces.

“Alberta youth deserve first-class protection from any form of tobacco, smoking and vaping and we urge the Alberta government to rescue this life-saving legislation from the chopping block” said Angeline Webb of the Canadian Cancer Society – Alberta/NWT Division. “Cabinet can easily rescue this legislation in just one meeting simply by proclaiming these sections into force. There is no justification to allow thousands of children and youth to go unprotected from the deadly consequences of tobacco use and nicotine addiction. Protect delayed is protection denied.”

Recently released survey data from Health Canada revealed that the rates of vaping among Alberta youth almost tripled between 2015 and 2017—from 8 percent to 22 percent among those in grades 10 to 12. In 2017, there were over 35,000 Alberta youth using vaping devices and risking nicotine addiction. Almost 5,000 Alberta youth were using flavoured waterpipe tobacco in 2017. Minors are often allowed in establishments that allow hookah smoking and young patrons and workers continue to be exposed to harmful secondhand smoke in these establishments.

“Thousands of Alberta youth are now suffering the consequences of the Alberta government’s refusal to fully proclaim and implement this life-saving legislation” said Michelle Louie of the Alberta Policy Coalition for Chronic Disease Prevention. “How many more Alberta youth need to fall prey to the tobacco industry before Cabinet will rescue and proclaim this critical legislation? The clock is ticking and the legislation will be revoked this year if Cabinet continues to allow tobacco companies to recruit more Alberta kids through these unjustified and indefensible loopholes”.

“The tobacco industry has mounted a full-court press of 12 registered lobbyists to fight tobacco laws and policies in Alberta including the Premier’s former press secretary” said Les Hagen of Action on Smoking & Health. “The industry is working the political backrooms to derail measures to reduce and prevent tobacco use. Tobacco companies should not be allowed to dictate health policies or to target youth”.

The coalition is running online ads and mobilizing support across the province to encourage Albertans to voice their concerns with the Premier and Cabinet regarding the imminent repeal of the legislation.

“We urge all concerned Albertans to visit to send a strong message to the Alberta government” said Nina Snyder of The Lung Association. “Tell the Premier and the Alberta government that kids deserve full protection from the deadly consequences of tobacco use and nicotine addiction and that tobacco companies should not be allowed to target kids through these unjustified loopholes. Urge the government to follow through on implementing life-saving legislation that was approved with all-party support in the Alberta Legislature five years ago.”

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Les Hagen at 780-919-5546

Angeline Webb at 780-239-5295

Michelle Louie at 780-492-0493

Nina Snyder at 780-224-0005

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