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Unsmoke initiative marks 5 years of transformative change

Leading the charge to ensure Canadians know about, and have access to, potentially less harmful alternatives, Unsmoke Canada hits a milestone anniversary
RBH employees participating in a tree planting event as part of their commitment to environmental protection. (supplied photo)

In a significant step towards promoting transformative change, Rothmans, Benson and Hedges Inc. (RBH) commemorates the 5th anniversary of its impactful Unsmoke initiative.  

Unsmoke, the cornerstone of the company's efforts, is guided by the principles of "if you don't smoke, don't start; if you smoke, quit; if you don't quit, change" The initiative reflects RBH's commitment to fostering conversations and spreading information about potentially less harmful alternatives for adults who might otherwise continue to smoke. 

The company's dedication to change has attracted professionals like the newly appointed first female Managing Director, Milena Trentadue, who was driven to join RBH not only due to the company’s willingness to disrupt itself but also to help drive change in government policy that she says hasn't kept pace with the innovation of smoke-free products.  

“There are a lot of misconceptions and areas for positive change. For example, current legislation treats all tobacco and nicotine products the same. Cigarettes burn tobacco and create smoke, which contains high levels of harmful or potentially harmful chemicals – the primary cause of smoking-related disease. Alternative products, such as heated tobacco and vaping products, eliminate the burning of tobacco and smoke.”  

Trentadue's leadership at RBH further strengthens its role as a frontrunner in smoking harm reduction. The emphasis centres on introducing scientifically supported, smoke-free products like heated tobacco, vaping products, and other innovative alternatives. While acknowledging their addictive nature and inherent risks, these alternatives aim to provide adult smokers with potentially less harmful choices.  

“We need to work together with the government to create policies that differentiate smoke-free products from cigarettes, and we need to help others understand the possibilities of what’s out there before applying any stigmas or stereotypes and shutting down what they don’t know,” Trentadue says. “It’s critical for adult smokers to have access to this information because, if they don’t, they will continue making choices that could be worse for their health.”   

As part of the 5th-anniversary celebration, there is a renewed call to action, urging individuals to commit to Unsmoke Canada. The goal is to continue advocating for change, dispel misconceptions, and work towards policies that reflect the transformative possibilities of smoke-free alternatives.  

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