COMPANY CALLS ON GOVERNMENT TO ADDRESS REAL LOOPHOLE, CONTRABAND TOBACCO
MONTREAL, July 6 /CNW Telbec/ - As Canada's leading manufacturer of legal tobacco products, Imperial Tobacco Canada objects to Prime Minister Harper's July 4 statement that suggests the tobacco industry as a whole engages in unscrupulous marketing practices aimed at enticing youth to smoke.
"We do not and never have manufactured candy-flavoured cigarettes, cigars, or cigarillos and we are adamant that kids should not smoke. We make a legal product for adult consumers who have made a choice to continue smoking in spite of the known risks," said John Clayton, vice president, Corporate Affairs.
The prime minister's statement coincides with the enforcement of the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act (Bill C-32) which makes it illegal for Canadian retailers to sell candy-flavoured cigarillos.
"At Imperial Tobacco Canada, we supported the initial intention behind this legislation and we agree that youth should not have access to tobacco products of any kind," added Mr. Clayton.
Mr. Clayton cautions, however, that the new legislation will not have its intended effect until governments become more serious about cracking down on illegal sales of contraband tobacco. Candy-flavoured tobacco products are readily available at Smoke Shacks on First Nations reserves in Ontario and Quebec and through traffickers across the country. These products are sold at a fraction of the price of legal tobacco and no proof of age is required.
"While we applaud the federal government's commitment to protecting Canada's young people, we continue to urge governments at all levels - and particularly Health Canada - to address the contraband problem that has exploded in Canada over the past decade and that undermines every tobacco-related regulation introduced by governments," said Mr. Clayton. "Once again, the government is quick to attack the legal tobacco manufacturers, while refusing to deal with today's most pressing and obvious tobacco issue, contraband. Unfortunately, the government is afraid to deal with this issue simply because it is too "politically sensitive."
SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada
For further information: For further information: Media Contacts: Eric Gagnon, Manager, External Communications, Imperial Tobacco Canada, 514-932-6161 ext. 2113