OTTAWA, May 29 /CNW Telbec/ - Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act,
is currently up for Second Reading in the House of Commons. The Bill, which
would come to ban flavoured little cigars / cigarillos, remains one of the
most brazen example of the significant lack of public accountability in the
tobacco control file in Canada to date. More to this point, it is this
reckless regulatory behaviour in government which has since come to create the
contraband tobacco problem in our country and will now come to further fuel
Bill C-32 is simply hate legislation masquerading as health legislation.
It is the direct result of an orchestrated campaign of fear and manipulation
which tax-funded anti-tobacco extremist groups in Canada have since come to
consider as justified advocacy tactics in their pursuit of a tobacco-free
society, says Luc Martial (in charge of government affairs with Casa Cubana
and formerly with the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, the Canadian Council on
Smoking and Health, the National Clearinghouse on Tobacco and Health, and the
Tobacco Control Programme at Health Canada).
This Bill is largely based on these groups' and Health Canada's
contention that flavoured little cigars / cigarillos are "wooing" Canadian
kids and reflect the devious marketing practices of a legal and legitimate
industry in our country. Such statements, aside from being grossly untrue and
offensive, are completely unsubstantiated.
Health Canada's own available research on the market for little cigars /
cigarillos (plain or flavoured) clearly shows that more Canadians and more
Canadian youth are far greater consumers of (non-flavoured) cigarettes.
In 2008, according to the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey data
available to us, there were 1.1 million Canadians who had tried a little
cigar/cigarillo (plain or flavoured) in the previous 30 days. This compared to
4.8 million Canadians who smoked cigarettes. Among 18 -19 year olds, 75% more
of them consumed cigarettes compared to little cigars. Also, while there were
5,500 fewer little cigar / cigarillo (plain or flavoured) smokers in this age
group in 2008, there was actually an increase of 7,759 cigarette users that
same year. Among minors (under 18), 40% more of them found interest in and
gained illegal access to cigarettes compared to little cigars/cigarillos. As
importantly, among these minors, while there were 12,100 fewer of them who
tried a little cigar/cigarillos (plain or flavoured) in the last 30 days,
their was actually an increase of 1,135 cigarette users that same year.
Bill C-32 is not about kids or protecting kids, and Health Canada's own
research proves this. Bill C-32 is about catering to the delicate moral nature
of some extremist groups and politicians who will never accept that some
Canadians choose to exercise their right to consume tobacco products.
Extremist groups will have cried wolf on several previous occasions and on
several previous issues, only to eventually be proven completely wrong. Their
cry today, on this issue of flavoured tobacco products, is as misguided and
will come to cause further irrevocable harm to our society - by fueling
existing contraband markets; putting more and cheaper tobacco in the hands of
kids; destroying legitimate businesses and jobs across Canada; and depriving
governments of millions of dollars in legitimate tax revenues. Just last
night, the federal Minister of National Revenue estimated at $2 billion, the
loss in annual Canadian government revenues due to contraband tobacco. If
passed into law, Bill C-32 would deepen this cost to Canadian governments by
providing excusive market rights to flavoured tobacco products to an able,
willing, ready and unstoppable underground economy.
Casa Cubana is a Montreal-based importer of quality cigar products.
Established in 1998, the company's reach extends throughout Canada with a
sales force servicing approximately 10,000+ direct accounts - to include
wholesalers, retail chains, independent retailers, gas bars, grocery stores
and the duty-free channel. Since 2003, the company has imported and
distributed a variety of flavored cigarillos, to become a relevant and
knowledgeable stakeholder in this marketplace.
For further information:
For further information: Media Contact: Luc Martial, (819) 682-2352,
Cell: (819) 743-9140