Shawn Gong thinks it is ‘ridiculous’ the tobacco industry continues to thrive.
The leader of Youth Engaged in Tobacco-Free Initiatives wants to do his part to butt out flavoured tobacco products.
Gong was part of a group of volunteers that staged a flash mob at the food court in Intercity Shopping Centre on Saturday to raise awareness for their fight to freeze the tobacco industry from selling and marketing flavoured tobacco.
“I feel if tobacco was an industry that just started recently it would be illegal,” Gong said. “It is the only company left in the world that if you use their product as intended it will kill you.”
A recent study released by the University of Waterloo shows that 52 per cent of the high school aged tobacco users surveyed had used candy-flavoured tobacco within the previous month.
Based on those numbers, Thunder Bay District Health Unit youth engagement facilitator Kellie Milani said it is clear the companies are targeting youth with an easier to use product to create an addiction.
“That 52 per cent is a significant number, significant enough we know that these products target youth,” Milani said.
“We have a petition to the House of Commons to ban all flavoured tobacco products in Canada. We currently have 8,000 signatures and when it gets to around 10,000 we will ask a Member of Parliament to present it and hope legislation will follow.”
In addition to the flash mob, volunteers also collected signatures on their petition and distributed information as part of their street marketing campaign.
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