Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

December 03, 2007 10:31 ET

Different Smell, Same ….

Health group calls for Health Canada to end Japan Tobacco’s misleading new advertising campaign.

Attention: Health/Medical Editor, News Editor OTTAWA--(Marketwire - Dec. 3, 2007) - Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada is calling on Minister of Health Tony Clement and his department to move swiftly to investigate and prosecute Japan Tobacco for promoting a new cigarette brand in ways likely to harm non-smokers.

As part of a global marketing campaign to promote a reduced-smell cigarette, Japan Tobacco has launched a new brand of cigarettes with advertising in both English and French versions of weekly entertainment newspapers. According to patent papers filed by Japan Tobacco, these cigarettes are made by adding a "tobacco sidestream smoke smell-improving agent" to the glue on cigarette wrapping paper.

The federal Tobacco Act allows tobacco companies to promote cigarettes, but does not allow them to do so in ways "likely to create an erroneous impression about the characteristics, health effects or health hazards" of the product.

"This new Japan Tobacco cigarette is no less harmful than regular cigarettes, but is promoted in ways that are likely to lead people to have mistaken beliefs about its hazards," explained Dr. Kapur. "Because there is good reason to presume that a number of smokers and non-smokers will associate less smoke smell with less smoke chemicals, and less harm to non-smokers exposed to this cigarette, this product and its promotion should not be allowed."

The Japan Tobacco advertisements are the anticipated response of the industry to this summer's decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to reject the industry argument that the law was too restrictive. This decision was expected to trigger increased promotions by an industry that had voluntarily refrained from promotions while the case was before the courts. PSC is repeating its call for the government to build on the Supreme Court decision by implementing a comprehensive ban on tobacco products, consistent with its obligations under the new global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

"Japan Tobacco has chosen a very provocative way to test Health Canada's enforcement mettle on the tobacco file," said Dr. Kapur. "All the companies will be watching carefully to see how the Minister of Health will respond to this type of marketing ---- and so will we."

Further information, copy of letter to Minister and copy of advertisement can be viewed at:


Contact Information

  • Cynthia Callard, Executive Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
    Primary Phone: 613-233-4878
    Secondary Phone: 613-850-5594