Canada is pulling flavoured cigarettes and cigars off store shelves today to discourage children and youth from picking up the habit.
The legislation makes it illegal for retailers to sell cigarettes, cigarillos and blunt wraps which contain specific additives or flavourings aimed at youth.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government is committed to protecting youth from "unscrupulous marketing practices by the tobacco industry."
He is calling on tobacco producers and retailers to respect the spirit of the legislation, as well as its legal obligations.
The Canadian Cancer society is applauding the tough new law, calling it the "best legislation in the world restricting flavoured tobacco."
The society says tobacco products flavoured with candy, ice cream and fruit flavours can be a trigger for kids who would never otherwise start smoking.
Retailers have had the past nine months to remove the flavoured products from their shelves. Store owners now caught selling the flavoured tobacco products will be subject to potential enforcement action, including fines.
The cancer society's senior policy analyst, Rob Cunningham, says the law will protect kids from picking up a smoke and will also encourage more adults to quit.
"It is simply wrong to be having an addictive, deadly product that has flavours like peach or mint or cherry or chocolate," he said. "It is wonderful that these products will be off the market.
The anti-tobacco legislation was passed into law in October 2009 after receiving support from all political parties.
While some tobacco manufacturers may try to find loopholes within the new legislation, Cunningham said federal health minister Leona Aglukkaq has promised to deal with any attempts to get around the law.
According to Cunningham, the ban on flavoured cigarettes and cigarillos is an important step forward for public health, and is particularly significant for teens.
He added however that more needed to be done to amp up anti-smoking initiatives for youth.
He pointed to a Statistics Canada survey conducted for Health Canada showed teen smoking from 15 to 19 year-olds had decreased from 20 per cent in 1999 to 15 per cent in 2008, but has since been stalled.
"In terms of youth we have made important progress in the last decade, but it has been stalled in recent years," he said.
"We have a lot more to do."