Forwarded with permission from Ken Kyle, who is LDS and works at the
Canadian Cancer Society, as director of public issues. The first item is
a recent newspaper article, the second some background from Ken on his
involvement with this. The Church News has been in contact with him
about possibly doing a story on this.
Court rejects tobacco industry challenge of federal advertising law
Friday, December 13, 2002
MONTREAL (CP) - Canada's anti-tobacco lobby urged the federal government
on Friday to crack down even further on cigarette manufacturers after a
judge dismissed an industry challenge of the Tobacco Act governing
Canada's three main tobacco companies argued the law forcing them to put
warning labels on cigarette packages is unconstitutional because it
unfairly limits their right to do business and market a legal product.
But Quebec Superior Court Justice Andre Denis rejected their view,
noting in his ruling that cigarettes kill 45,000 Canadians a year.
"They (tobacco companies) are trying to save an industry in inevitable
decline and they have every right to do so," Denis wrote.
"Their rights, however, cannot be given the same legitimacy as the
government's to protect public health."
The law also bans tobacco advertising in broadcast outlets, billboards,
street kiosks, bus panels and store displays.
Anti-tobacco officials were ecstatic with Friday's ruling.
"It's just dynamite, dynamite," said Francois Damphousse, director of
the Quebec office of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association.
"It's a tremendous ruling because the judge has recognized that tobacco
is a major, major public health problem."
Donald McCarty, a vice-president at Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd., said
the industry was disappointed with the decision. He hinted at an appeal
but also said negotiations with the federal government would help avoid
years of legal wrangling.
The judge also criticized the tobacco companies for using terms such as
"light" on their cigarette packages.
Rob Cunningham, a spokesman for the Canadian Cancer Society, called on
Ottawa to seize the momentum created by the ruling and amend the law to
eliminate prominent retail displays of tobacco products as well as what
he called "deceptive" descriptions such as "light" and "mild."
Alex Swann, a spokesman for Health Minister Anne McLellan, said the
department was pleased with the decision and that the minister is
looking at the "light" and "mild" issue.
"The health minister will continue to look at possible measures that
would be effective in fighting the problem of tobacco," Swann said from
"On the light and mild issue specifically, the minister is examining
McCarty, who was also speaking on behalf of Rothmans, Benson and Hedges
Inc. and JTI-Macdonald Corp., said the companies agree that tobacco
should be regulated.
"We need to say that those regulations need to be reasonable," McCarty
"The industry has always said that there are clearly serious risks
associated with tobacco use. But tobacco is not the only product widely
used in society that has risks attached to it. Recently in the United
States, they've decided that obesity is now the No. 1 health problem
Cunningham also said Denis upheld a ban on tobacco sponsorships of
sports and cultural events. The ban takes effect next Oct. 1.
"This is a massive and total victory for public health in Canada today,"
Cunningham said. "In historic terms, the tobacco industry has never been
criticized to the extent that it has in this judgment."
The case began last January.
Mark -- Here is some background on the court decision last Friday, as
Since 1986 I have been Director of Public Issues for the Canadian Cancer
Society (CCS) in Ottawa, Canada, reporting to our CEO at CCS
headquarters in Toronto. This means I have been responsible for the
CCS's lobbying and government relations activities to convince the
Parliament of Canada, among other issues, to pass laws preventing
cancer. (One of my projects a few years ago, for example, was to
Co-Chair the international Smoke Free Skies campaign which organized
public health and civil aviation authorities in many countries to
successfully lobby the International Civil Aviation Authority (one of
the United Nations family of organizations) to pass a resolution in 1992
banning smoking on international commercial flights.)
In 1987 I worked with a few other individuals from other health groups
and successfully lobbied Parliament to ban tobacco advertising in Canada
in 1998. There was then a five year marathon battle in the courts after
the tobacco industry challenged the constitutionality of these
eventually lost 5 - 4 at the Supreme Court of Canada in 1995. But the
Supreme Court provided guidance for new legislation.
I then headed up the CCS's efforts to work with other health groups to
successfully lobby for replacement legislation - the "Tobacco Act",
which was passed by Parliament in 1997. I later convinced the CCS's
National Board to apply for and fund intervener status in the courts
which we eventually received. I hired a young lawyer, Rob Cunningham,
to be part of the legal team working with lawyers from the Government of
Canada when this new Act was also challenged by the tobacco industry.
The Canadian tobacco companies have now failed in their attempt to get
the Canadian Tobacco Act overturned in court. Québec Superior Court
judge André Denis last Friday upheld the constitutionality of the Act,
which severely restricts the advertising media and types of
advertisement that can be used
to promote tobacco brands. He ruled that provisions of the Tobacco Act
are fully justifiable under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
He also upheld regulations under the Act that mandate picture-based
health warnings on cigarette packs and require manufacturers to provide
extensive reports to the Government of Canada on product ingredients and
emissions as well as marketing activities and research. He also
delivered a powerful criticism of the tobacco industry that is
unprecedented in its magnitude in Canadian courts. The Court concluded
that the tobacco industry advertised to youth, engaged in deceptive
advertising, failed to disclose its knowledge of the
health effects of tobacco use and was a willing accomplice to cigarette
The implications of this judgment are immense. For example, the Tobacco
Act was the authority for picture-based government health warnings
covering 50% of each side of cigarette packs. Other countries, such as
Brazil, have copied this Canadian innovation. This provision is being
considered in the current negotiations under the auspices of the World
Health Organization for a Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The
final negotiations are next February in Geneva. Both Rob Cunningham and
myself have been involved in these negotiations representing the
Non-Government Organization (NGO) sector. The tobacco industry would
have liked to have seen these warning
knocked out by the courts because of their world precedent-setting
The CCS and other health groups in our tobacco control coalition having
been pressuring the Government to ban the use of misleading descriptors,
such as "light" and "mild". This judgment will make our job easier. We
are also working to have the Government eliminate prominent package
displays at retail outlets.
Public Issues Office
Canadian Cancer Society
116 Albert Street. Suite 1010
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5G3
T: 613.565.2522 ext. 300
E: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Let's Make Cancer History
1 888 939-3333 | www.cancer.ca
Marc A. Schindler
Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland
“Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he
will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill
Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the
author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the
author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author
may be associated.
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