Canada - Bill C-32 to amend Tobacco Products Control Act..

June 17, 2009 - Bill C-32 is an amendment to the Health Canada Tobacco Products Control Act (effective January 1989) proposes to ban the sale of all small little cigars and flavored tobacco.

But Kentucky tobacco growers contend the legislation has been written so broadly it could also bar American-blend cigarettes that include burley tobacco, which they say has flavoring added during normal processing to mitigate its naturally harsh taste.
Representative Ed Whitfield, a Kentucky Republican congressman,wrote to Canadian International Trade Minister Stockwell Day that Bill C-32 exceeds its goal to prohibit the marketing of candy-flavored cigarillos to Canadian youngsters. In a June 5 letter to Day, quoted by the CanWest News Service, Whitfield said, "It bans the manufacture (both for domestic consumption and export) and the sale of all American-style cigarettes in Canada. This bill would thereby ban the vast majority of U.S. Cigarettes to Canada."

Whitfield and fellow Kentucky congressman Brett Guthrie have told Day they believe the anti-tobacco bill will "violate several trade agreements including the Technical Barriers to Trade and North American Free Trade Agreement."

Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced the proposed amendment to the Tobacco Act on May 26. She said in a statement then that the revision seeks to make tobacco products less affordable, less accessible and less appealing to Canada's young people. Health Canada spokesman Christelle Legault pointed out American-style cigarettes make up only 0.5 percent of the total value of the cigarette market in Canada.

In a June 8 letter to Day, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters President Jayson Myers said Bill C-32's ban on numerous additives and cigarette ingredients will produce "unintended consequences" unless it is amended before passage. "Additives are essential in the making of any cigarette and American blend cigarettes are among the most common in use," Myers said. "The government needs to ensure that it avoids protectionism in the midst of this economic downturn as this will lead to more jobs lost in Canada."

Legault: "American-style cigarettes are made by blending different tobaccos with flavoring preparations (called casings), sugars and sweeteners to enhance their taste. The intent of Bill C-32 is to prohibit the use of flavorings, except menthol, and appealing additives in all cigarettes. We know that the addition of flavours and additives makes them more appealing to youth and this is exactly the kind of tobacco industry marketing tactic that we want to prevent in order to protect our vulnerable youth."

"The legislation is currently being discussed at the health committee of the House of Commons," Leclerc told Canwest News Service. "We are aware of the concerns expressed by the two members of the U.S. Congress."

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act bans clove but spares menthol. Indonesia - dispute with U.S. over banning the use of clove in cigarettes.. Menthols accounted for a quarter of the roughly 370 billion cigarettes smoked domestically in 2006 and are more popular here than anywhere else in the world. Menthol cigarettes have been linked to 14.6 percent of all African-American deaths in 2006. The next most popular flavored cigarette, clove, accounts for .09 percent of the market. Those cigarettes are banned under the bill. Indonesia, which provides 99 percent of the clove cigarettes to the U.S. market, has complained to the U.S. trade representative about the disparity with menthol. If Indonesia brings a protectionist complaint to the World Trade Organization, it would compel the U.S. government to prove cloves were banned for health reasons. Namely, the United States would have to show that the flavor of cloves enhances cigarettes’ addictive properties. If it can’t, the ban could be considered a trade violation.

References: Kentucky Farmers Battle Proposed Amendment To Canada's Tobacco Act, All Headlines News (AHN)Staff, 6/11/2009; Anti-tobacco bill further tests Canada-U.S. trade relationship Sheldon Alberts, Washington Correspondent, Canwest News Service, 6/10/2009; Cool, refreshing legislation for Philip Morris, by Paul Smalera, Reuters, 6/12/2009.