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Health Unit youth group will “freeze” in Port Dover over flavoured tobacco

SIMCOE, ON, July 14, 2009 – The Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit’s youth group, Fresh Heir, will hold a “flash mob” this Saturday, July 18, along the Port Dover beachfront to protest flavoured tobacco.

Fresh Heir members and other youth volunteers will all “freeze” at predetermined times during whatever activity they are doing. After the youth un-freeze, curious onlookers will be directed to a booth where they can find information, giveaways and a petition supporting a ban on flavoured tobacco products.

“We hope this event will grab the attention of spectators and give us the opportunity to educate the public, especially youth, about the dangers of tobacco products, specifically flavoured tobacco products,” said Peer Leader Kristen Rattray.

Fresh Heir members create events to encourage their peers and the community to lead healthy tobacco-free lifestyles. Any youth who would like to volunteer at the Port Dover event may contact Fresh Heir at fresh.heir@hnhu.ca or visit www.freshheir.ca for more information.

Fresh Heir wants to educate the public on the dangers of flavoured tobacco products by working together with “Flavour…Gone!” (www.flavourgone.ca), a campaign created to support a ban on all flavoured tobacco products. The group specifically wants to inform the public about Bill C-32, which was recently introduced by Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq and proposes to ban flavouring of cigarillos, cigarettes and blunt wraps, but would exclude chew and spit tobacco, as well as menthol flavouring.

“Flavoured tobacco products are created by the tobacco industry to specifically target youth,” said Peer Leader Megan Hartwick, “We would like to see Bill C-32 become law, and be expanded to include flavoured chew and spit tobacco as they are also designed to entice young people. These products are sold in flavours similar to candy, which make them more appealing to youth because they seem safer and less harmful. Flavoured tobacco products are also packaged in bright colours, making them look similar to other products such as makeup, gum and markers.”

Fresh Heir’s goal is to educate, involve and protect youth from the deceptive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry through creative and innovative events.

Media Contact: Josh Daley, Youth Advisor, Haldimand Norfolk Health Unit, 519-426-6170 Ext 3276.