Tobacco ad ban: fascist
By Dan Dedic
With the federal government's tobacco sponsorship ban coming
into effect Oct. 1, the Canadian Grand Prix's existence is jeopardized
- in turn, Jacques Villeneuve's home town losing streak may
finally end by default.
Daniel Robinson, a professor of information and media studies
at Western who studies tobacco marketing, explained the existing
ban on advertising is being extended to include sponsorship.
The most obvious effect will be on auto racing, where tobacco
companies sponsor a considerable number of cars.
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) subsequently
announced the cancellation of the Canadian Grand Prix, but many
groups in Canada feel the two issues are unrelated.
"The reason tobacco companies [use these races] is that
the cars are a great advertising vehicle, pardon the pun, to
target a wide audience - namely teenage boys," said Francis
Thompson, spokesperson for the Non-Smokers Rights Association
Thompson said there may be no financial loss, as other companies
like Hewlett Packard (which already sponsors one team), might
be willing to step in.
Christina Dona, media representative for Canada's top tobacco
manufacturer, Imperial Tobacco said she disagreed, noting the
ban has already ended Team Players racing, as well as other
programs such as the Matine Fashion Foundation and the
Arts Funding Foundation.
"Imperial Tobacco has asked our parent company, British
American Tobacco, to race without labels in the Grand Prix,"
Imperial Tobacco is challenging the ban and is in the appeal
process with the Quebec Supreme Court. "[The company has]
done everything to be in compliance with the law," she
Canadian Council for Tobacco Control spokesperson Bob Walsh
said he was happy with the law and felt the Grand Prix would
survive. Walsh said ridding the race of such sponsorship was
an important step in fighting addiction. "We know advertising
and promotion increases tobacco use," he stated.