Notice of proposed order to amend the schedule to the Tobacco Act

Notice to the reader:

The online consultation is now closed. Comments and suggestions received during the public consultation period are being considered. Thank you for your input.

This notice offers interested parties the opportunity to provide comments on proposed amendments to the schedule of prohibited additives found in the Tobacco Act. These amendments would further restrict the use of additives, including flavouring additives that are used to market cigars that appeal to youth.


Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in Canada; it is responsible for more than 37 000 deaths each year. Direct health care costs are estimated at $4.4 billion annually, and the total burden to the economy, including indirect costs (e.g. lost wages, productivity), is estimated at $17 billion per year.

Among Canadians who have ever smoked a whole cigarette, 90% did so by the age of 20 and, of those, more than three quarters went on to become regular smokers at some point in their lifetime. Preventing youth from smoking will contribute to lower prevalence rates over time, including among young adults (ages 20 to 24), who have the highest rate of smoking in Canada.

In 2008, Prime Minister Harper committed to cracking down on the marketing of flavoured tobacco products, like cigarillos, aimed at youth. Prior to 2008, flavoured little cigars (cigars similar in size and in other characteristics to cigarettes) were becoming increasingly popular with youth. In order to limit the tobacco industry's marketing of such products to youth, the Government of Canada introduced the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act in 2009. Its coming into force amended the Tobacco Act to block tobacco marketing aimed at youth. The legislation ended the sale of single little cigars and blunt wraps to make them less affordable to youth. In addition, the Act banned flavours that were enticing to young people through a schedule which sets out the additives, including flavouring additives other than menthol, prohibited from use in relation to the manufacture and sale of cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps. The Schedule can be viewed on the  Justice Laws website.

With the coming into force of the amendments in 2010, Canada became the first country in the world to prevent the use of additives that contributed to making tobacco products more appealing to youth.

The Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS) shows that the use of flavoured tobacco products by youth has decreased since the Government passed the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act. According to the 2012 CTUMS, 5% of youth aged 15 to 19 reported using little cigars in the last 30 days compared to 8% in 2009. Unit sales of flavoured cigars fell an estimated 35% between 2009 and 2011. Finally, according to the Youth Smoking Survey, the prevalence of youth in grades 6 to 12 who reported using at least one flavoured tobacco product in their lifetime has decreased from 19% in 2008-2009 to 15% in 2012-2013. When the legislation came into force in 2010, the Prime Minister publicly stated that the Government would monitor compliance.

Since 2010, Health Canada has observed the introduction of resized cigars (weighing over 1.4 g and without a filter) in the same flavours as those that were on the market before the 2009 amendments to the Tobacco Act. Typically, these resized cigars will feature tipping paper (a paper commonly used to cover filters) even though they are made without filters and/or will have a wrapper that is not fitted in spiral form.

Despite the smoking rate among youth being at an all-time low, young persons continue to use flavoured tobacco products. According to the 2012-2013 Youth Smoking Survey (grades 6 to 12; from grade 6 to secondary V in Quebec), among youth reporting having used at least one tobacco product in the last 30 days, two in five (40%) reported using a flavoured little cigar or a flavoured cigar during the same period, representing approximately 126 000 young Canadians.

Proposed amendments

The schedule to the Tobacco Act lists certain additives, including most flavouring additives other than menthol, that are prohibited from use in the manufacture of cigarettes, little cigars and blunt wraps. Health Canada is proposing to amend the schedule to prohibit the use of the same additives (with some exceptions) in other types of cigars, on the basis that the additives are used to market cigars that appeal to youth. The exceptions would be made to limit the impact on the choices of adults.

The amendments under consideration are as follows:

  • The current prohibitions on the use of certain additives in relation to the manufacture and sale of little cigars would be extended to cigars with tipping paper and cigars with a wrapper that is not fitted in spiral form. The prohibitions would also apply to cigars weighing more than 1.4 g but less than 6 g, excluding the weight of any mouthpiece or tip.
  • Certain traditional flavours that appeal to adults would be allowed in cigars weighing between 1.4 and 6 g, provided they do not feature a filter, tipping paper or a wrapper that is not fitted in spiral form. The use of additives that impart an aroma generally attributed to port, wine, rum or whisky would be allowed in these cigars.
  • Regardless of the type of cigar, menthol would remain exempt from the prohibition on flavouring additives, as is currently the case.

Submitting comments

The publication of this notice begins a 30-day comment period. There will be further opportunities to provide comments throughout the federal regulatory process. Comments received in response to this notice will be used to inform Health Canada's policy and to enhance the proposed amendments.

Stakeholders and interested parties are requested to provide their comments to the Manager, Regulations Division, Tobacco Products Regulatory Office, Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, in electronic format (Microsoft Word or Adobe) to or by mail at Address Locator 0301A, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9.

Associate Director General
Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate
Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch

Draft Order for Public Consultation

Stakeholders and interested parties wishing to receive the draft text are invited to write to to request a copy.

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