POLITICS

Complaints over proposed menthol ban in Nova Scotia swept aside by committee

04/22/2015 05:25 EDT | Updated 07/17/2015 07:59 EDT
HALIFAX - Legislation that would make it illegal to sell flavoured tobacco including menthol in Nova Scotia is drawing fire from a major tobacco company and a group representing convenience store owners.

Eric Gagnon of Imperial Tobacco Canada told the legislature's law amendments committee Wednesday there is no evidence menthol products are the cause of youth smoking.

Gagnon also says making menthol illegal would also boost a black market for contraband menthol cigarette brands.

Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Store Association, says stores would suffer a serious financial loss if they can't sell the product.

Hammoud says the May 31 implementation date also doesn't give retailers enough time to prepare for the change and many will be stuck with hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory.

But the arguments failed to sway an all-party committee, which unanimously voted to send the bill back to the legislature without changes.