Public health initiatives and youth smoking prevention measures are inneffective for over 30 percent of the tobacco industry


    MONTREAL, June 1 /CNW Telbec/ - Imperial Tobacco Canada today stated that
Canada has lost its leadership in tobacco control thanks to provincial and
federal governments ignoring the growing crisis of illegal tobacco sales.
    In a speech delivered today at the Canadian Club of Montreal, Benjamin J.
Kemball, President and Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Tobacco Canada said
"As simplistic as it sounds, part of the solution is to acknowledge that we
have a problem. Governments have to work in earnest to find effective
solutions that go beyond police operations. A good first step would be to
bring everyone involved to the table, from the health communities to the First
Nations communities. Someone needs to be put in charge."
    Despite world renowned tobacco control policies, over 30 percent of every
cigarette purchased in Canada is illegal and this number reaches 40 percent in
Quebec and 50 percent in Ontario. Recent RCMP seizures demonstrate that the
reach of illegal tobacco is spreading outside its tradition stronghold of
Quebec and Ontario to other provinces, networks are becoming more
sophisticated and shipments are getting larger.
    Imperial Tobacco Canada believes that effective and enforceable tobacco
control regulations are necessary due to the health risks associated with
tobacco. The real issue today is the rampant growth of illegal cigarettes that
are falling into the hands of young people at pocket money prices; that have
no government mandated warnings or other health information; that are
manufactured in unlawful factories with no government oversight and no
reporting of ingredients or product testing.
    Imperial Tobacco Canada believes that something should and can be done
now. The road to solving the growth of illegal tobacco sales begins with the
Prime Minister mandating a high-level ministerial appointee to take charge of
the problem, enforce the current laws, control raw material and machinery.
However, none of this will work if the First Nation communities are not
invited to be at the table to help shape the solutions.

    Further information on Imperial Tobacco Canada is available on the
Internet at:

For further information:

For further information: Media: Eric Gagnon  Manager, External
Communications, (514) 932-6161, ext. 2113

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