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DOES CANADA'S TOBACCO DEAL GIVE REPRIEVE FOR ONLY TWO YEARS?
Published June 4, 1998
The Canadian government introduced amendments that will allow tobacco companies to continue sponsoring sports and cultural events through 2000, according to McIlroy & McCarthy of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. But after 2000, tighter restrictions will be established and all sponsorship would be banned by 2003. The previous law would have placed prohibitions on tobacco sponsorship as early as this October. McIlroy & McCarthy report that the government's decision to give cultural and sporting events more time to wean themselves from tobacco-sponsorship money is being criticized by opponents "as a sellout to the industry," but Health Minister Allan Rock "defended" the amendments, saying they make the Tobacco Act more "severe" and "restrictive." Rock: "What we are doing is ensuring that, after the transition period, sponsorship by tobacco companies simply will not be allowed" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/4). WHAT IT MEANS: The tobacco industry "welcomed the reprieve," but said that they would probably sponsor events for "only the next two years because after that the restrictions would make it not worth their while." Tobacco companies spend about C$60M a year to fund more than 370 arts, sports, fashion and entertainment events in Canada, including the Grand Prix in Montreal and Trois Rivers, Molson Indy in Vancouver and Toronto and the Du Maurier- supported tennis events (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 6/4). DETAILS: Government restrictions, set to start after 2000, or after the proposed amendment is approved, include: direct mailing of sponsorship materials must be sent to an identified adult; print ads allowed only in publications with primarily adult readership; signs promoting events will be restricted to bars and taverns; and promotional material mentioning tobacco will be restricted to the bottom 10% of the surface area. Molson Indy Toronto GM Bob Singleton, on the reforms: "We're very happy. This allows us time to seek replacement sponsors" (Grange & Blair, GLOBE & MAIL, 6/4).