Canada's new stringent anti-tobacco laws in last minute hitch

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OTTAWA -- Canadian federal Health Minister David Dingwall has postponed the unveiling of tough new anti-tobacco legislation scheduled for November 21, saying the government has run into some last minute problems in its drafting.

The new legislation is expected to contain a number of new initiatives including new retail taxes, and even tougher restrictions on advertising than the previous legislation provided. These measures are likely not only to include a ban on tobacco advertising, but also a ban on its sponsorship of sporting and cultural events. And new packaging regulations will also require even tougher anti- smoking warnings than before. Previous anti-tobacco legislation had restricted advertising, though this was later brought down by the Supreme Court of Canada as unconstitutional.

The tobacco industry has been lobbying against the proposed legislation, supported by cultural and sport organizations which stand to lose an estimated $60m in sponsorship money. However, it is possible Dingwall will move some of the tax revenue from tobacco to these organizations in efforts to offset at least some of the loss.

The federal cabinet approved the new anti-tobacco policy earlier in the week but sources say some MPs have already voiced disagreement with some of the policies.

Copyright November 1996, Crain Communications Inc.

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