22 July 2014
They may not hang around high schools, but they are nonetheless setting their sights on addicting Canadian youth. Their latest gimmick is flavoured products—fruit, vanilla, mint, chocolate, maple syrup and menthol-flavoured cigarillos, cigars and thin cigarettes that look like a lipstick.
Loaded with kid-friendly appeal, they work. Over half of young smokers use a flavoured product. According to University of Waterloo public health professor David Hammond, "What we have is a very effective recruitment tool for kids to start smoking." Menthol (a favourite of mine those many years ago) is particularly insidious in that it not only imparts an icy flavour but also anesthetizes the throat making it easier to inhale.
The time to hook people on drugs is, of course, when they are young. The tobacco companies are quite aware that 70 per cent of future smokers start before their 18th birthday. The corporate CEOs present themselves as respectable citizens, and we accept them as respectable citizens, even as they, with premeditation, addict young people in a habit that will kill half of them if they don't manage to quit. It's a sordid business, and the tobacco barons should be treated with the contempt they deserve.
Posted by Bill Longstaff at 12:40 am