Big To­bacco can act

National Post (Latest Edition) - - LETTERS -

Re: Im­pe­rial To­bacco ‘shocked’ by Health Canada’s pro­posal for plain pack­ag­ing of ci­garettes, June 26

Im­pe­rial To­bacco says it’s “shocked and con­fused” by the gov­ern­ment’s pro­posed reg­u­la­tions man­dat­ing plain pack­ag­ing for ci­garettes and other to­bacco prod­ucts. What’s truly shock­ing is that a com­pany re­spon­si­ble for fully half this coun­try’s an­nual 45,000 en­tirely pre­ventable, pre­ma­ture smok­ing-re­lated deaths has the gall to con­tinue com­plain­ing and to even threaten to take the gov­ern­ment to court.

Im­pe­rial should just qui­etly keep count­ing its blood­soaked money and also count it­self for­tu­nate that its prod­ucts are so ad­dic­tive that they can’t be banned out­right. Pro­hi­bi­tion is not re­al­is­tic, even if to­bacco’s tox­i­c­ity would make it en­tirely war­ranted, but any reg­u­la­tions the gov­ern­ment wishes to im­pose, and that are based on the best avail­able ev­i­dence, are worth adop­tion with­out Big To­bacco’s in­put.

It’s also worth not­ing that, while Im­pe­rial laments “a num­ber of pro­vi­sions that are ba­si­cally im­pos­si­ble to com­ply with,” the in­dus­try said the ex­act same thing when Canada was on the verge of set­ting a world prece­dent by in­tro­duc­ing graphic warn­ing la­bels in 2001. Health groups quickly found print­ers who could do the job, putting the lie to the firms’ com­plaints. Canada is not the first when it comes to plain packs, but the draft reg­u­la­tions are rig­or­ous and set a num­ber of global prece­dents. They should be saluted, not chal­lenged by the in­dus­try whose un­con­scionable ac­tions have made them nec­es­sary. Stan Shaten­stein, Mon­treal

SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

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