Rock says no more 'light' or 'mild' cigarettes
WebPosted Mon Aug 13 18:00:27 2001
QUEBEC CITY - Calling some tobacco labelling deceptive, federal Health Minister Allan Rock has announced legislation that will prevent cigarettes from being marketed under the terms "light" or "mild".
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Rock made the announcement Monday at the annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association in Quebec City.
The new legislation will be introduced this fall.
Rock said he expects cigarette companies to challenge the new legislation, but he added they've been deceiving the public since the marketing terms were introduced in 1976.
"We have evidence that people are confused by these expressions," he noted. "Speak the truth - all cigarettes are totally unacceptable."
He said some smokers end up removing the blocking filter on the lighter brands and smoke greater numbers of those cigarettes.
Health groups welcomed the decision.
Dr. Peter Barrett with the Canadian Medical Association says they are "quite happy" about Rock's announcement.
"We welcome that as a health initiative in this country," Barrett said.
A representative from the Ontario Non-Smokers' Rights Association said it's a good decision to stop what he calls a "massive consumer fraud."
David Sweanor said a majority of Canadian smokers buy "light" or "mild" cigarettes and believe they are making a safer choice.
Sweanor said smokers are faced with pressure from friends and family to quit, and may buy a lighter brand to appease them.
He said there is no less tar and nicotine in the cigarettes, and that they were designed to cheat tobacco testing machines.
The tobacco industry says the terms are not misleading, and that tar levels in "light" or "mild" cigarettes are lower than in regular ones.
It's not the first time Rock has tried to make the change.
Last May he told the tobacco industry to drop the marketing terms.
He said Sunday that their lack of action has left him with no choice.
"We requested that the cigarette companies act on a voluntary basis. They have not acted in an appropriate manner," he said.