Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Tobacco and bubble gum don’t mix
A few years ago, now former Manitoba NDP Judy Wasylycia-Leis introduced a private members bill to go after flavoured mini-cigars. These products were often wrapped in bright colours, flavoured to make the cigars taste like bubble gum, fruit or chocolate, and were pretty popular with teenagers.
The government picked up on Wasylycia-Leis’s bill during the 2008 election and Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq passed legislation banning flavoured mini-cigars in 2009. The ban also prevented mini-cigars from being packaged in groups of anything smaller than 20. (Critics complained the mini-cigars were often sold individually or in groups of three or four at a time, which made them more affordable for kids to buy). The law took effect in June 2010.
Today the government showed the ban has some teeth as Health Canada seized more than 25 million of the mini cigars at three warehouses in Montreal belonging to Casa Cubana, Groupe Tabac Scandinave, and Distribution GVA Inc.
It was the first time the government has seized the products since the bill came into force and came after two warning letters were issued.
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About Mia Rabson
Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.
Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.
She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.
Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.
Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.
In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.
She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.
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