Call for moratorium on new tobacco products

MONTREAL, Nov. 3 /CNW/ - At the 6th Conference on Tobacco or Health being held in Montreal this week, numerous stakeholders are urging government authorities to declare a moratorium on new tobacco products to counter the innovative product launch and marketing strategies of cigarette manufacturers.

Several public health and tobacco control experts point out that tobacco companies are constantly developing new marketing strategies to circumvent the laws and regulations currently in force in Canada. These strategies include the introduction of new products such as 'activated carbon filter cigarettes' and flavoured cigarillos, which are alone responsible for increasing smoking rates in young people in Quebec.

"Health authorities are always struggling to keep up with tobacco industry innovation. While elected officials can be convinced it is important to act, as seen in the recent passing of Bill C-32 on flavoured cigarillos and cigarettes, introducing a moratorium on new tobacco products would be more effective and make more sense. We all know that if cigarettes were brought to market today, governments would never authorize their sale, given that they kill 50% of their users. New products allow the industry to lure and hook new customers and to win over smokers who are thinking about quitting. What is needed is a moratorium on all new tobacco products," says Flory Doucas, co-director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control.

This industry has proved in the past that it is highly adaptable to new restrictions, by launching new products typically marketed as being less harmful than ordinary cigarettes, in order to make people forget the addiction and adverse health effects linked to tobacco. Light cigarettes and filters are two such examples. Life-style advertising on packaging is another.

Governments must pursue their public health and smoking reduction objectives by taking swift action to deal with a resourceful industry that is seeking to sell more of its products that are harmful to human health. It is important not to facilitate such tweaking by the industry. "The introducing of new products is a back-door way to evade public health measures and promote tobacco products and smoking. The industry has attempted to counter government warning messages, smoking bans and advertising restrictions by coming up with alternative products that remain a clear threat to public health," Doucas stresses.

The moratorium sought would ban all new tobacco product brands, new types of tobacco products as well as new packaging.

SOURCE National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTH)

For further information: For further information: To arrange interviews with conference speakers, please contact: Conference media room, (514) 879-6822; French media, Éric Normandeau, (514) 245-0195; English media, Matt Drennan-Scace, (416) 471-8475

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