HALIFAX - It would be illegal to sell flavoured tobacco including menthol under legislation introduced Friday in Nova Scotia, although the provincial government wants Ottawa to regulate e-cigarettes and the flavoured juice they contain.
The ban would also include flavoured rolling papers and tobacco products that are not smoked, such as chewing tobacco and snuff. It does not include port, rum, wine and whiskey-flavoured cigars that weigh five grams or more.
It would come into effect May 31, if passed.
Kelly Cull of the Nova Scotia chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society welcomed the legislation.
"Certainly the inclusion of menthol and the very timely implementation date of May 31 makes this the most progressive legislation in Canada," said Cull.
She said to date, no province has banned menthol, although the measure is included in a bill in Ontario currently at the committee stage.
The Nova Scotia government tried last fall to ban flavoured e-cigarettes and e-juice as part of its legislation prohibiting the display and sale of the products to those under 19, as well as their use in indoor public places. But it backed off after a public outcry.
Health Minister Leo Glavine said the new changes are the result of a three-month consultation period earlier this year.
Glavine said the province will leave regulation of e-cigarettes to the federal government but would retain the right to make changes in the future through regulations in the new bill.
"We do not intend to use this ability for now," said Glavine. "Instead we strongly urge our federal partners to take swift action to regulate e-cigarettes and e-juice for the health and safety of Nova Scotians and Canadians."
Glavine said retailers have advocated that Ottawa should take the lead in regulating e-cigarettes. He said there are still many "unknowns" about what's in the product and their ultimate effects on health.
"It truly is the wild west out there now," he said. "So we're hoping Health Canada will step in."
Proponents of e-cigarettes argue the products help smokers quit, while anti-tobacco advocates point to scientific studies that have demonstrated flavoured tobacco, including the juice in e-cigarettes, is popular among youth.