Volume 94, Issue 35

Wednesday, November 1, 2000


NEWS

Concordia money vanishes

USC answers - where's the beef?

Buses keep rolling

USC Senator voting rights in question

Province throws the money into water

Tobacco companies get stubbed out

Campus Briefs

London miffed over Toronto garbage plan

Students protest York U. strike

Corroded Disorder

Tobacco companies get stubbed out



By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff



As progressive stages of the Tobacco Act come into effect, cultural events across Canada face the prospect of going up in smoke.

An amendment of the Act came into effect on Oct. 1 this year and placed new restrictions on the advertising of tobacco sponsored events, said Andrew Swift, media relations officer for Health Canada.

The latest Act was passed by parliament in December of 1998 and aims to eliminate tobacco advertising by October, 2003, Swift said.

"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Canada," he said. "It kills 45,000 a year."

Swift said the tobacco industry attracts young people to smoking through advertising at various sporting and entertainment events. He added the five year period was introduced to give organizations and events adequate time to find alternative sponsorship.

Michel Descoteaux, director of public affairs for Imperial Tobacco, said the legislation is unconstitutional and attacks freedom of expression.

The industry is still seeking ways to challenge the legislation, he said, including a case that will be made next year in front of the Quebec Superior Court.

Descoteaux confirmed Imperial Tobacco, which owns the cigarette manufacturer du Maurier, has pulled its financial support of major sporting and entertainment events, including auto racing, tennis and golf.

"These events cost so much money," he said. "Without advertising visibility they are not financially practical."

Stacey Allaster, vice president of sales and marketing for Tennis Canada, said this was the last year the Canadian men or women's tennis championship will be sponsored by du Maurier.

"Finding someone to replace du Maurier was not easy," she said, citing du Maurier's former annual contribution of $8 million per year.

Allaster said Tennis Canada was fortunate to have Rogers Cable and AT&T come forward to sponsor the women's championship and ISL, an international sports marketing company, sponsor the men's events.

She said many organizations and events will not be as lucky as Tennis Canada due to lack of a tangible media and advertising market.

Garfield Mahood, executive director of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, said he feels no sympathy for tobacco-sponsored events, which he claims have been using a loophole in the original Tobacco Act of 1988 to collect money from tobacco advertising.


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