The Government of Quebec should revisit its priorities to focus on the crisis of illegal tobacco sales

    The proposed legislation will not help resolve the illegal tobacco sales
    that reach 40 percent in Quebec

    MONTREAL, June 9 /CNW Telbec/ - Today, Imperial Tobacco Canada has asked
one of its senior partners, the Government of Quebec, to stop its hypocrisy
towards the tobacco industry and focus its energy and funds in curbing the
growing and unchecked sale of illegal tobacco.
    In a statement before the Social Affairs Committee of the Legislative
Assembly of Quebec, Mr. Donald McCarty, Imperial Tobacco Canada's Vice
President of Law, stated, "Instead of wasting time trying to find ways to
litigate against tobacco manufacturers, the government should instead
cooperate with the legitimate tobacco industry to concentrate on fighting
    The Social Affairs Commission of the Legisative Assembly of Québec is
currently hearing presentations on Bill 43 (Tobacco - related Damages and
Health Care Costs Recovery Act).
    "This Bill is an appalling attempt at 'corporate profiling' aimed at
isolating a specific industry, in this case the tobacco industry. The logic on
which this bill is based could also be applied to several other consumer
products," added Mr. McCarty. "This includes alcohol and lotteries, two
industries in which the government is deeply entrenched."
    As an example, a 2000 study carried out by GPIAtlantic states that
obesity-related illnesses cost the Quebec taxpayer $1.5 billion. More
importantly, the study states that obesity-related costs will soon overtake
the costs of tobacco-related illness. Another prime example is the rate of
alcohol consumption in young Quebeckers, which rises from 26 percent in Grade
7 to 89 percent in Grade 11. These industries should expect to be the
governments' next targets.
    The Government of Quebec should take the necessary steps to wipe out the
illegal cigarette trade, which represents a clear threat to public income,
public health and the survival of small Quebec-based retailers. In Quebec,
over 40 percent of all cigarettes purchased are illegal. Forty percent of all
cigarettes are sold by criminal organizations that ignore regulations and
willingly sell to young Quebeckers at ridiculously low prices, without
requiring any proof of age.

For further information:

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

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