Tobacco marketers prepare battle over Canadian law

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OTTAWA, Ontario -- Tobacco marketers are going to court to fight Canada's new restrictions on tobacco advertising and sponsorship, which are set to become law this week.

Marketers Imperial Tobacco and RJR-Macdonald along with Rothmans and Benson & Hedges will be in court "very shortly" to try to stop the new rules. At issue for the marketers are uncertain interpretations and vague definitions in the law, which they argue are too broad and "put a legal chill" over their advertising.

"It's impossible to advertise anything," says Marie- Josee Lapointe, spokeswoman for the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council, which represents the three marketers on industry matters.

After a court challenge from the marketers in 1995, Canada's Supreme Court struck down similar restrictions as unconstitutional.

Copyright April 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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