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HKPR health unit to tackle the issue of nicotine pouches in a letter

DAN CEARNS The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit (HKPR) is joining many other health agencies across Ontario in advocating against Health Canada’s recent decision on nicotine pouches.

During conversation, on Ontario’s proposed Smoke-Free Ontario Amendment Act also known as ‘Vaping is not for Kids,’ on Thursday, November 16th, the topic of nicotine pouches being available to children was also discussed.

Bob Crate of Northumberland, pointed out these pouches “are not regulated at all,” to his knowledge, and asked if this is something the health unit should advocate regarding.

“Health Canada just announced, they are regulated as a natural health product to assist in smoking cessation. The challenge with that is, as you point out, they are not regulated, so there’s not an age restriction through the natural health products regulations and they can be sold anywhere. You don’t need a prescription for them and they are nicotine. So, even though the product says [it is] not intended for folks under 18, they look like candy and can be bought at a convenience store,” local medical officer of health, Dr. Natalie Bocking explained.

Dr. Bocking suggested the health unit create a letter, “targeted at Health Canada,” for the board to endorse.

The Canadian Cancer Society is one of the organizations which have stepped up to call for regulations on this product.

“This is the first time, in more than 100 years, it is legal for a nicotine product from a tobacco company to be sold to minors in Canada,” Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society, said in a statement. “Tobacco companies cannot be trusted. It is essential the federal Health Ministers take action on an urgent basis.”

He also added, “these nicotine pouches are clearly appealing to youth, with attractive flavours such as Tropic Breeze, Chill Mint and Berry Frost, and with colourful, small packages which might well hold candy.”

A motion was later approved, by the HKPR board, to have a letter produced and sent “to the appropriate party for the nicotine pouches.”

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