Tobacco marketers must disclose ingredients in British Columbia

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Government health officials in British Columbia have introduced new rules requiring tobacco marketers to disclose ingredients and toxic chemicals in their products.

British Columbia wants marketers to provide reports on 44 "selected poisons" in tobacco smoke, including arsenic, hydrogen cyanide and benzene.

Details on how health officials will use the information from tobacco marketers won't be released until at least September. British Columbia earlier promised it would enact tough labeling regulations requiring packages to carry a list of the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke.

It's expected the new disclosure rules will be in force by September, when the countdown starts on several deadlines for marketers to reveal product details. Disclosure for major cigarette brands is due by Oct. 31 and information on all brands is required by June 30 next year.

Provincial Health Minister Penny Priddy calls the measures the strongest reporting requirements in the world. "This is an important step towards exposing the truth about cigarettes, but it's not the final step," says Ms. Priddy.

Canada's tobacco marketers say they can't meet the new information deadlines and earlier promised to challenge any provincial packaging rules in court.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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