Airspace President Errol Povah sees today's Supreme Court decision --
upholding the federal Tobacco Act -- as a "good news, bad news" development
in the War on Tobacco.
"The good news is that the decision was unanimous (9 to 0), clearly
indicating full recognition of the uniquely destructive nature of
tobacco... and, therefore, a desire on the part of the Supreme Court to send
a strong message to both the tobacco industry and society as a whole," Povah
"The bad news: The existing anti-tobacco legislation is so weak and full of
loopholes that you could drive a stolen semi loaded with contraband
cigarettes through it!"
Povah points out that anyone who suggests that there is currently a ban on
tobacco advertising in Canada has been smoking something a little stronger
(albeit less deadly) than tobacco.
"The vast majority of the magazines on the shelves at any convenience store,
library, etc. are American...and many, if not most of them, still run
tobacco ads... even in the supposedly Canadian versions of those magazines
(most notably, Maxim magazine). Many freebie newspapers have recently been
running half-page, full-colour ads for citrus-flavoured Skoal, one of the
most popular (and now, tastier/more palatable) brands of chewing tobacco.
Power walls -- scheduled to be phased out by Jan 1, 08 -- still exist. Gas
stations and convenience stores seem to be engaged in a cigarette price war.
Until recently, the price for a package of cigarettes was getting very
close to the $10.00 a pack mark; earlier today, I saw a hand-made sandwich
board sign advertising them for $5.99. Such signs must be recognized as
'tobacco advertising'...and included in new legislation."
The solution, Povah says, is brand new, meaningful, well-thought-through
(with input only from health professionals...and excluding the tobacco
industry), no loopholes anti-tobacco legislation.
"The time is long past due for the Government of Canada (specifically, the
Ministry of Health) to take tobacco -- the leading cause of preventable
disease, disability and premature death... and, subsequently, one of the
biggest drains on our "in-crisis" health care system -- much more seriously.
It's also time that we lived up to our commitment/obligations to the World
Health Organization, when Canada ratified a WHO treaty, the Framework
Convention on Tobacco Control."
Press release from Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada: New law needed to end tobacco advertising