The Canadian Cancer Society called on the Canadian authorities on Monday to ban all flavored tobacco products, as a new national survey showed more than half of teen smokers have used them.
The latest released Youth Smoking Survey on about 50,000 students showed that 52 percent of high school students in Canada have used flavored tobacco products.
The society's senior policy analyst Rob Cunningham said that there is "an urgent and compelling need" for federal and provincial governments to ban all the fruit- and candy-flavored tobacco products, which makes it easier for youth to become addicted to tobacco.
"Swift action is needed to protect youth from these products. It is essential that governments introduce new legislation without delay," said Rob.
In Canada, many categories of tobacco products remain heavily flavored and are not prohibited by federal legislation.
The federal Tobacco Act prohibits flavors (except menthol) in cigarettes and cigarillos, which are cigars weighing 1.4 grams or less or having a cigarette filter, and blunt wraps.
However, cigars weighting over 1.4 grams, water pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and menthol cigarettes are not banned.
The survey, which is conducted every two years by Health Canada and the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, also showed that almost 32 percent of youth smokers had smoked menthol cigarettes in the past 30 days.
"With this new data clearly showing that many young people are smoking menthol products, the menthol loophole must be closed," says Cunningham.
Tobacco products come in favors including watermelon, chocolate and strawberry. They are packaged in enticing colors aimed at children and carry no health warnings, said Donna Pasiechnik of the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Canadian Cancer Society is Canada's largest national cancer charity and the largest national charitable funder of cancer research in Canada, whose mission is to eradicate cancer and enhance the quality of life of those living with the disease.