Impérial Tobacco Canada asks the Minister where the proposed health
warnings will be on the
MONTREAL, Dec. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Impérial Tobacco Canada Limited today
lamented the Minister of Health's decision to abandon her commitment to
tackle the nation's contraband tobacco problem and imposing new
regulations on the legal tobacco industry.
"This announcement is simply poor policy for political gain and has
little to do with its stated health objectives," said John Clayton,
vice president, Corporate Affairs.
Since 2006, illegal cigarettes have made up between 18-33% of the
national market with rates soaring to as much as nearly half of the
market in Ontario. The RCMP has reported recently there are now 50
illegal cigarette factories and over 300 smoke shacks selling tobacco
on First Nations reserves in Canada. After announcing in September that
tackling illegal tobacco was her priority, special-interest
anti-tobacco groups lobbied the Minister heavily to focus on increasing
the size of health warnings on legal products. Most of these groups are
funded by her own department.
"Three months ago, the Minister of Health said illegal tobacco was her
priority. However, she has done nothing to crack down on the illegal
trade since then. Instead, she caved into the pressure of a handful of
anti-tobacco groups," said Mr. Clayton. "The illegal operators already
ignore over 200 rules and regulations, including the existing labeling
requirements. This will simply be another law that is ignored -and yet
another case of the Government of Canada turning a blind eye to that
illegal activity," he added.
Imperial Tobacco Canada recognizes the health risks associated with
smoking and agrees that consumers should continue to be informed about
those risks. The Company also believes that the health risks have been
known for decades and that the existing régulations provide sufficient
information to consumers in order for them to make an informed
decision. Today in Canada, tobacco regulation places a fifty percent
health warning on cigarette packs, prohibits display from public view
and restricts most communication to consumers.
"Increasing the size of health warnings will not provide greater
awareness to consumers or decrease the number of smokers" said Mr.
Clayton. "It is unfortunate that the Health Minister has decided to let
a few anti-tobacco groups dictate the government's tobacco control
strategy instead of using a common sense approach," he added.
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada
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