News Releases

August 14, 2003

PSC Thanks Prime Minister for Resisting Pressure to Exempt Formula 1 Racing from restrictions on Tobacco Promotions

The Right Honourable Jean Chretien
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario

Dear Prime Minister:

Please accept our gratitude and appreciation for the steadfast defense of the public interest you and your government have shown in the face of pressure from the organizers of Formula 1 race car driving to further extend Canada’s exemption from restrictions on tobacco promotions.

Your resoluteness in implementing the restrictions on sponsorship promotion will produce a health benefit that extends beyond Canada’s borders.  Your actions will protect the youthful audiences of these races in Canada and in countries around the world from inducements to smoke.  By demonstrating that governments will no longer be held hostage to commercial pressures to advertise cigarettes, you have helped other governments resist the pressure to relent.

 There has already been a 15-year delay on implementing the ban on cigarette branded sponsorship since Parliament first gave all-party support to the Tobacco Products Control Act in 1988.  By creative use of legal loop-holes, political bluster and intimidation, the multinational tobacco firms operating in Canada have shown that grace periods to aid transition for event managers only result in requests for further postponement of health measures.  Thank you for putting an end to this cycle of pressure tactics.

 I am very proud of the role that Canada played in developing a new global tobacco treaty (the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) which calls for elimination of all forms of cross-border tobacco advertising, including sponsorship of car races.  Your defense of the Tobacco Act this week shows that political support for these measures can and will have a beneficial impact on global health.

 With best wishes,


Atul Kapur, MD, FACEP, FRCPC


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