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Tobacco firm ‘disappointed’ in B.C. restriction on flavoured nicotine pouch sales

MONTREAL — A major Canadian tobacco company says it is “extremely disappointed” by British Columbia’s decision to move the sale of flavoured nicotine pouches behind pharmacy counters.

Premier David Eby announced the restriction on Wednesday, saying the province issued the order to prevent children coming into contact with a “hazardous” and “addictive” product while Health Canada looks into the regulation of sales.

But a statement from Imperial Tobacco Canada says shifting sales away from convenience stores and gas stations makes it “more difficult for smokers to access a product that can help them quit smoking.”

The Montreal-based company says it supports preventing children from buying nicotine products, but adds that Imperial has “gone above and beyond” to make sure they’re only available after age verification and Eby should reconsider the move.

The premier told a news conference that nicotine use can cause changes in the brains of young people, and some critics say the pouches are designed to appeal to children.

The pouches, which come in a variety of flavours, are available under Imperial’s brand name Zonnic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2024.

The Canadian Press