75% graphic health warnings go too far

MONTREAL, April 25, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Imperial Tobacco Canada today announced that it has commenced proceedings to challenge the constitutionality of the federal government's decision to increase the size of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages to 75 percent.

Imperial Tobacco Canada recognizes the health risks associated with smoking and agrees that consumers should continue to be informed about those risks. However, it believes the current regulation, including the existing 50 percent health warnings, provides sufficient information to adult consumers in order for them to make an informed decision.

"In choosing to further regulate the legal and already heavily regulated industry, it is clear that the federal government is avoiding the country's number one tobacco problem, the illegal tobacco market. A market that evades all taxes and current regulations and whose products carry NO health warnings," said John Clayton, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Imperial Tobacco Canada.

Imperial Tobacco Canada contends that increasing the graphic health warnings infringes on the Company's ability to communicate and is an illegal violation of the Company's rights under section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"Does anyone seriously believe that Canadians don't already know the risk of smoking?"  Mr. Clayton asked. "Increasing the size of the warning from 50 to 75 percent will not lead to any measurable change to public awareness. We have been forced to take this position for us and for other industries that may be the target of over regulation."

The Government of Canada approved the increase in the size of graphic health warnings in September 2011. All tobacco packaging in Canada must comply with the new regulations by June 19, 2012. 

For further information:

Media Contact:
Imperial Tobacco Canada Media Relations
514-932-6161 ext: 2113
www.imperialtobaccocanada.com