Volume 94, Issue 62

Friday, January 12, 2000


NEWS

USC questions voting status

Student code still debatable

Equality lacking at work for non-whites

Anti-smoking group against new warnings

Minister creates new panel

Kneel before the wisdom of the 8-ball

Corroded Disorder

Anti-smoking group against new warnings

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

Two anti-tobacco groups are battling each other over the best approach to overcoming a much larger foe.

On Wednsday, two anti-smoking organizations called seperate news conferences in Toronto to address the issue of Canada's new cigarette package warnings, which took effect Dec. 23.

The Canadian Council for Non-Smoking, consisting of close to 40 ex-smokers from the business and academic community, launched a campaign for positive cigarette packaging.

The CCNS are selling sleeves for cigarette packs on their Web site (www.positivequit.com), which include text-based warnings such as "Quitting smoking will absolutely extend your life span. "

Frank Dwyer, the council's president, said he thinks the newly legislated tobacco packaging, which features graphic images of diseased mouths and blackened gums, is disgusting and will prove to be ineffective. "We need to give positive reasons to move forward and change personal lifestyle."

Dwyer said the typical negative attack approach taken by Health Canada and most anti-tobacco advocate groups has proven itself ineffective. "Twenty-nine per cent of Canadian teens smoke," he added. "It's the highest it's been in 10 years."

Larraine Fry, general manager of the Non-Smokers' Rights Association, said the CCNS has no research to support their claims, adding she believes the CCNS may be funded by the tobacco industry. "The industry always creates confusion," she said. "They're trying to make it appear like there is opposition to the new warnings from within the health community."

Dwyer said the CCNS is considering a potential defamation lawsuit against the NSRA over allegations they are funded by tobacco corporations. "It is absolutely not true."

Andrew Swift, a spokesperson for Health Canada, said extensive research the government has done with focus groups, as well as health community input, has shown that the new visual packaging has the best chance of success. "Their size and emotional content will encourage more to stop smoking."

Rob Parker, president of the Canadian Manufacturing Council, said the public has already been warned of the negative effects of smoking, adding tobacco companies have voluntarily put warning labels on their products since 1972.








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