Bill would also require chain restaurants to post calories on menus
The Health Decisions Made Easy Act, would build on Gélinas' previous bill that pushed to ban the sale of flavoured cigarillos.
“Flavoured cigarillos are priced low to encourage teenagers to experiment and get hooked,” said Gélinas, the NDP's health and long-term care critic. “More and more tobacco products come in candy-style flavours and packaging, they are meant to seem harmless, but we know that they encourage experimentation. We have to take action now to prevent another generation from becoming smokers.”
Michael Perley, director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco, said Gelinas’ bill would help prevent young people from getting addicted to tobacco products.
“We’re very pleased to see that Ms. Gelinas’ bill goes further than current legislation by banning smokeless tobacco and new tobacco products, as well as candy and fruit flavours in all tobacco products,” Perley said in a release. “The bill’s pre-emptive action on new products will cut off another means of attracting both new and existing tobacco users.”
The restaurant portion of Gélinas’ bill would require chain restaurants with five or more locations and earnings of at least $5 million a year to post the number of calories next to each menu item.
Those same restaurants would also have to flag items with high sodium content and provide free brochures containing detailed nutritional information.
“Bill 149 will help make restaurants much more effective than their current efforts to provide calories and sodium information to their customers, it will provide vital information to prevent heart disease, strokes, cancer, diabetes and other nutrition-related diseases which cause 16,000 to 22,000 deaths in Ontario every year,” said Bill Jeffery, national co-ordinator of the Centre for Science in the Public Interest, in a release.