Canada - bill to ban flavored tobacco products gets final approval - Burley Tobacco..

October 9, 2009 - Canada has given final approval to an anti-smoking law that Kentucky burley growers and lawmakers worry may spell an end to the market for the tobacco leaf north of the border.

The bill, known as the Bill C-32 - Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed at Youth Act, passed the Senate Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee on a voice vote and without amendments. It was awaiting final action in the Canadian Senate. (Canadian bill to ban flavored tobacco products worries Kentucky burley growers..)

The Canadian Senate passed the legislation Tuesday, October 6th and it received “royal assent” — final approval — on Thursday, October 8th.

Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society: “This bill is a very important advance for public health in Canada.”

The bill bans flavored tobacco products in Canada.

Burley is one of three kinds of tobacco mixed together with additives for blended tobacco. Some Kentucky lawmakers, led by Rep. Ed Whitfield, R-1st District, have written to American and Canadian officials that the bill’s ban on many of the additives used in blended tobacco effectively outlaws burley. With 85 percent of U.S. burley exported, the implications of the Canadian action and possible similar actions by other nations are enormous, the Kentuckians warned.

However, U.S. trade data show that there have been no burley exports to Canada since 2006. That year, U.S. burley valued at $221,000 was delivered to Canada. In Cunningham’s view, the burley growers are raising “a non-issue.” And even if there were exports, “the bill does not ban burley tobacco, and it does not ban any type of tobacco — it bans flavors,” Cunningham said.

Roger Quarles, president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, based in Lexington, Ky., said the Canadian government’s approval of the new law was expected, given the little opposition to it in the Canadian Parliament. “We’re disappointed that the government in Canada has failed to hear what we think is very logical reasoning here,” Quarles said. “That potential market for Kentucky growers will be eliminated in Canada.” He added: “We’ve always had a fear this might expand to other markets.”

While trade data may show no burley exports to Canada since 2006, that does not mean the tobacco didn’t get into the country in the form of a blend used in making cigarettes, Quarles said. And American-blend cigarettes with burley are sold in Canada, he said.

Cunningham said Canadians don’t care much for the American-blended cigarettes, pointing out that they constitute only 0.8 percent of the total market.

Whitfield spokeswoman Kristin Walker said the congressman remains concerned about the potential impact of the new Canadian law on Kentucky tobacco farmers.

“The issue at hand here is really the dangerous precedent this law sets internationally,” she said in an e-mail. “While burley tobacco exports to Canada in recent years have been relatively low, worldwide the U.S. exports approximately 165 million pounds of burley tobacco annually.”

Walker: “In addition, laws such as this could impact all tobacco production. Every year the U.S. exports 624 million pounds of tobacco. If every country passed laws like Canada’s, American tobacco farmers would be severely hurt.”

Rep. Whitfield is exploring ways to pressure the U.S. and Canadian governments to address the burley issue, Walker said.

Reference: Canada enacts anti-smoking law despite burley growers’ concerns by
James R. Carroll (, Louisville Courier-Journal, 10/8/2009.

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