A Review of Cigarette Marketing in Canada - 6th Edition - Winter 2007

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Japan Tobacco leads the way
Tobacco Ads Return
 

At the beginning of summer, Canadians received good and bad news about tobacco marketing.  The good news was that the Supreme Court had upheld the federal law restricting tobacco promotions (the 1997 Tobacco Act).  The bad news was that this, ironically, hailed a resurgence of tobacco ads in Canada.

The major tobacco companies had strategically restrained from advertising while their constitutional challenge to the federal law was before the courts (they had argued that the law was so strong that it was, in effect, a total ban: running ads during this period would have undermined this argument). Once the court made its ruling, this self-restraint was no longer needed.

Although some ads for Skoal and other smokeless products as well as some sponsorship marketing until it was phased out in 2003 (see earlier editions of Filtertips),  there was no apparent direct advertising for tobacco products over the past decade.

Tobacco advertising is legal in Canada, despite Canada's obligations under the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to implement a comprehensive ban in keeping with its constitutional principles.   The current federal law restricts advertising to (a) print publications of a non-youth audience; (b) direct mail to adults (c) advertisements in bars or places where youth are not permitted.  (More details can be found here).

Canadian health groups maintain that such a ban is consistent with Canada's constitution, and have called on the federal government to put one in place.

 


December 6,
The Montreal Mirror


December 6,
The Montreal Mirror


December 6,
The Montreal Mirror


December 6,
The Montreal Mirror

Despite the restrictions on tobacco advertising, many Canadians report seeing tobacco ads.  In March 2006, Health Canada commissioned a survey of Canadians' recall of tobacco advertising.  The study (available from the Library of Canada) found that:

  • "One in five (19%) Canadians recall seeing tobacco advertising in the past few months."

  • "More than a third (36%) of those younger than 24 recall seeing ads" (but "Canadians over the age of 55 are least likely to recall seeing ads.).

  • Among those who have seen ads, they are most likely to recall seeing ads in magazines. (see graph below)

 

Filter-Tips is produced by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada.
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