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Local youth bring the HEAT to Parliament Hill

Local youth bring the HEAT to Parliament Hill






From left to right: Nicole Stone, Kristen Forsyth, Brendan Francis-Cope, Albin Jung, Grace McFarland, Lauren Driver and Callie Anderson from the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit joined more than 100 youth from across Ontario at a Freeze the Industry rally on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill. The November 9 event supported Bill S-5, which will introduce plain and standardized tobacco packaging and products in Canada.

OTTAWA, NOVEMBER 9, 2017 – Members of the Health Education and Advocacy Team (HEAT), a youth led volunteer group joined #youth from across the province in a demonstration on Parliament Hill to show their support for Bill S-5. The senate bill will introduce plain and standardized packaging for tobacco products in Canada.

“This is a vital step for stopping youth from becoming potential tobacco users,” said Lauren Driver, one of the five members of HEAT who attended the rally. “Without branding, packs will be less attractive to our peers.”

Plain packaging eliminates the final form of advertising for big tobacco companies. By passing Bill S-5, all tobacco packs would include health warnings and look the same, reducing their visual appeal. Numerous health organizations are calling for the inclusion of standardized packaging in the government’s plan to adopt plain packaging.

“It’s really important that packages are standardized. This would prohibit specialty packages, like Super Slims that target young women and make the health warning hard to read,” said HEAT member Grace McFarland. “Plain is good, but plain and standard is better.”

While the volunteers were in Ottawa, the group also had the privilege to sit in and listen to a question period and eat lunch with members of Parliament. During this time, HEAT learned valuable insights about the legislative process and the work that goes in to getting a bill passed.

“This was an amazing and informative experience,” said HEAT member Kristen Forsyth. “We received a lot of support, which is great, knowing that the government and many Canadians care about this issue.”

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Media contact:
Kim Dias
Manager, Health Promotion
Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit
519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623 Ext. 3152