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Philip Morris Bullies Canada Over Health Laws - AGAIN


OTTAWA --(Marketwire - June 19, 2009) - Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada called on the Canadian Senate to speed up its passage of bill C-32, and to send a clear message to the U.S. tobacco giant, "Philip Morris" to butt-out of Canadian health law.

For the second day in a row, Philip Morris has sent workers from its Canadian operations at Rothmans, Benson and Hedges) to protest against a law designed to protect children from the use of candy-flavourings in tobacco products. On Thursday June 18, protests were held in Quebec City (where the RBH factory is located). On Friday, June 19th, a protest is scheduled in front of the Canadian Prime Ministers office.

"Philip Morris has a long history of threatening trade action against health measures around the world," explained Cynthia Callard, executive director of Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada. "Whether it's larger health warnings, requirements to disclose ingredients, bans on advertising, restrictions on the use of light or mild or - as in this case - bans on certain flavourings, the company plays on the confusion and fear of World Trade Agreements to suggest that health laws should be delayed."

She explained that Philip Morris is looking for a delay, likely in the hopes that the bill may not survive a change in the Canadian political landscape should such develop in the coming months.

"Philip Morris is throwing up sand, hoping for delay. We urge Senators to stand up to protect Canadian youth from the marketing and political shenanigans of this company."

PSC has written to Senators to explain that:

C-32 WILL NOT BAN THE IMPORT OF US CIGARETTES
Canadian cigarettes are made with flue-cured Virginia tobacco, and tobacco companies do not use additives in these cigarettes. Should companies which manufacture the small percentage (said to be less than one-half of one percent by Health Canada) of cigarettes made from air-cured (burley) and sun-cured (oriental) tobaccos, they will be able to do so, but they will have to adjust their manufacturing process to remove any of the sweetening flavourings that are on the schedule of prohibited additives.

C-32 WILL NOT RESULT IN ANY LOSS OF MANUFACTURING JOBS IN CANADA.
This bill will not affect the cigarettes currently manufactured in Canada. The candy-flavoured cigarillos that will be banned are currently imported from the United States.

C-32 WILL NOT MAKE CANADA VULNERABLE TO TRADE CHALLENGES
It is not true that Canada is taking measures that will be subject to a trade challenge from the U.S. government.
The U.S. Congress and Senate have both passed legislation which will amend the U.S. Food and Drugs Act and will ban flavourings, making U.S. and Canadian law very similar with respect to flavourings (although the U.S. law will be stronger in clearly banning kreteks). All signs point to this U.S. legislation becoming law in the near future.

"There is no reason to believe that trade agreements can or should be used to protect the right of companies to "candy-coat" a deadly product, or that there is any desire on the part of any foreign government, especially the United States, to block the important improvements to public health protection that the Harper government


 

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