Government of Canada moves forward with proposal to ban menthol in tobacco products


Proposal would expand previous restrictions on flavours that appeal to youth

November 4, 2016 – Ottawa, Ontario – Health Canada


Staying healthy is about more than just visiting a doctor. It is the result of the positive choices we make every day. The Government of Canada continues to take action in helping Canadians make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

As part of this commitment, and under the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, Health Canada announced today a proposed Order that would amend the Tobacco Act to ban the use of menthol in cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars sold on the Canadian market.  

In May 2016, Health Canada concluded a 30-day consultation period with stakeholders and the general public on the path forward for the restriction of menthol flavouring in these tobacco products. The vast majority of comments received from the public were supportive.

The proposed amendments would build on changes that came into force in 2009 and 2015, which banned the use of certain additives, including flavours like chocolate and bubble gum, in all cigarettes, blunt wraps and most cigars (including little cigars), to make them less attractive to youth.

The changes proposed today would expand on these restrictions by prohibiting menthol, an additive used by tobacco manufacturers to improve the palatability of their products and increase their appeal, resulting in 95% of the entire tobacco market being subject to a federal flavour ban.

The Government of Canada encourages Canadians to review the proposed Order, which is being published in the Canada Gazette Part I for a 75-day public comment period, and to submit feedback they may have to Health Canada.

The Federal Tobacco Control Strategy is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.

Quick Facts

  • Menthol masks the irritating effect of tobacco smoke by making it easier to inhale, which facilitates experimentation by youth.
  • According to the most recent Canadian student survey, almost half of students who reported smoking cigarettes in the past 30 days reported smoking menthol cigarettes.
  • Research has shown that an important way to curb lifetime smoking is to prevent youth from starting to smoke in the first place. Despite success in reducing smoking rates among youth to a record low, recent data has shown that a significant number of youth smoke menthol cigarettes.
  • Restricting the use of menthol flavouring is only one part of the Government of Canada’s overall tobacco control strategy. The Government of Canada continues to advance work to implement its commitment to introduce plain packaging for all tobacco products, as well as to table new legislation to regulate vaping products.
  • As part of the Government of Canada’s efforts to develop a new and innovative Federal Tobacco Control Strategy, Minister Philpott will host a national forum in early 2017 to discuss the future of tobacco control and hear from a wide range of stakeholders and Canadians, including First Nations and Inuit people.


“Every year, tens of thousands of Canadians die from preventable diseases that can be directly linked to smoking. Research shows that the best way to prevent these deaths is to stop people from smoking in the first place, especially when they’re young. By moving forward on this proposed ban on menthol, alongside the existing flavours ban for tobacco products, we are taking another important step in the fight against youth smoking.”

Jane Philpott Minister of Health

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Andrew MacKendrickOffice of Jane PhilpottMinister of Health613-957-0200

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