Imperial Tobacco Canada expands harm reduction program with start of SNUS test market in Ottawa



    OTTAWA, Jan. 24 /CNW Telbec/ - As part of its harm reduction program,
Imperial Tobacco Canada announces today that Ottawa will be the site of the
Company's next test market for its Swedish-style snus smokeless tobacco
product.
    "The health risks associated with smoking tobacco products are well
understood, the prices are high and restrictions are strict, yet about five
million adults in Canada smoke. Imperial Tobacco Canada believes that it is
the right thing to provide people products that are potentially less harmful
than smoking," said Benjamin Kemball, president and CEO of Imperial Tobacco
Canada.
    In May 2007, the Company made a commitment to initiate test markets in
one or more Canadian regions for a Swedish-style snus product. This was one of
the outcomes of Imperial Tobacco Canada's first Social Report, which also
included commitments on youth smoking prevention and the reduction and
elimination of illegal tobacco sales. The Company introduced its first snus
test market in Edmonton last September.
    In late January, a test market will begin in Ottawa for Imperial Tobacco
Canada's Swedish-style snus. This is a smokeless oral tobacco; it is not
chewed and does not cause spitting. It is not chewing tobacco. The tobacco
undergoes a special heat-treatment pasteurization which reduces the formation
of tobacco-specific nitrosamines. These are chemicals which have been
associated with cancer and have historically been found in other forms of oral
tobacco. Sweden has the highest usage of snus, is the first EU country to
lower its smoking rates to below 20 percent and has the lowest rate of lung
cancer in the industrialized world.
    Many independent health studies indicate that the use of snus is
substantially less risky than cigarette smoking. However, there is no safe
tobacco product. The most effective way to avoid the risks is not to use any
tobacco products. The research does not necessarily mean that risk is lower
for every type of disease and every category of user. Results from research
conducted in Sweden have not yet been verified among Canadians.
    "Harm reduction, particularly when it comes to tobacco products, is an
important public health issue." said Mr. Kemball. "If harm reduction products
are to be pursued and be effective, we need to look at how best to regulate
this new category in a way that makes people aware of their choices and
accurately reflects the risk reduction potential and the remaining health
risks. To do so we need the input of all stakeholders such as the government
and the scientific community."
    Imperial Tobacco Canada's Ottawa test market is designed to assess
consumer acceptance of snus and also monitor its use to compare it with the
Swedish experience. The company will offer its findings to Health Canada.
    Imperial Tobacco Canada hopes to work with Health Canada and others in
the tobacco control field to look at an appropriate regulatory framework for
this new tobacco category.

    For more information on Imperial Tobacco Canada log on to
www.imperialtobaccocanada.com.




For further information:

For further information: Sophie Alarie, Associate, Media Relations,
(514) 932-6161 x 2381


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