The federal government is planning to bring in legislation forcing cigarette companies to adopt plain packaging, which supporters say will help bring down the numbers of smokers.
But a current run of full page ads in the “Globe and Mail” are attempting to convince people otherwise.
The ads link to a website owned by JTI, which describes itself as “the world’s third largest international tobacco company,” and is arguing “what’s next?” to be banned, and says bans on packaging don’t work anyway.
Anti-tobacco activist hopes ads don’t convince many people
Self-described child-advocate against the tobacco industry, Pamela McCool says she hopes that the ads don’t deter the government from bringing in that law.
“Our tax revenues from tobacco are nowhere near what we pay out, it’s the biggest drain on our public health system.”
McCool says full page ads taken out by cashed-up tobacco companies are nothing new.
“I was in New York when Central Park went smoke-free and they ran these full-page ads in the New York Times and USA Today and everywhere else saying ‘rise above the ban, you know it’s freedom.'”
Australian laws saw tobacco sales fall
Australia has had plain packaging laws in effect since 2012, where latest government numbers show tobacco clearance sales have fallen by 11% since 2012.
But the Head of Corporate Affairs for Imperial Tobacco, Eric Gagnon, has described the “Australian experiment” as a failure.
“No, the eleven per cent, we agree with that, but what we’re saying is that the smoking incidents in Australia was already on the decline rate… That decline did not accelerate since the implementation of plain packaging.”