Canada: Health Canada ban on flavoured tobacco
On 4 June 2009, the House of Commons passed Bill C-32, An Act to Amend the Tobacco Act. The Act seeks to address the issues of little cigars, flavoured tobacco and tobacco advertising geared to youth. Of particular concern are little cigars and tobacco blunts with fruit or candy flavouring, which the Government believes are targeted at youth. Bill C-32 bans the use of additives, defined as substances other than natural or reconstituted tobacco, in tobacco products weighing less than 1.4g. The prohibition of such products would apply both to production located in Canada as well as imported cigarettes and tobacco products.
American tobacco producers claim that Bill C-32 is discriminatory in effect, as Canadian producers of cigarettes do not use additives, but American producers do. The difference lies in the tobacco leaf processed, as Canadian firms use Virginia tobacco, which is mild and does not require flavouring, while American firms make their cigarettes from Tennessee and Kentucky tobacco, which has a harsher taste. Canadian Minister of Health Aglukkaq has admitted that the Bill will ban “American blend” cigarettes from the Canadian market, which the Minister claimed account for 0.5% of sales in the Canadian tobacco market.
Bill C-32 has now passed to the Senate for deliberations and will not be voted on until the upper house of the Canadian legislature is reconvened in September. Should the Act pass the Senate in its current form, it will require Royal Assent from Governor-General Michaëlle Jean to become law.
The Senate finally approved Bill C-32 on 8 October 2009 and it is effective since the day following approval.
Any Evidence-Based Deliberation:
Deliberations on the efficacy of the measure were conducted with respect to health-related aspects of the ban. Evidence of the effect of the measure on trade was presented, but only in response to claims the ban was distortionary, not as a means of supporting the measure in Parliament.
|Is there anything in the public record to suggest that evidence of the effectiveness of the proposed measure was considered during official deliberations?||Yes|
|Is there any evidence that alternatives to the proposed measure were considered?||No|
|Is there anything in the public record that suggests that empirical evidence informed the comparison across the alternatives available to government?||Yes|
|Was such evidence identified?||Yes|
|Is such evidence publicly available?||No|
|Did the official decision-maker in question provide an explanation as to why a chosen measure was favoured over alternatives?||No|
|Is there any evidence to suggest that potentially affected trading partners were consulted before the measures were taken?||No|
|Is there any evidence that safeguards have been put in place to ensure that implementation of the initiative is transparent and non-discriminatory?||No|
|Did the government state its intention to review the measure within one year of implementation?||No|
Date Discovered: 06/07/2009
Date of inception: 9 Oct 2009
GTA Evaluation: Amber
For the text of Bill C-32, see:
Parliament of Canada, Act to Amend the Tobacco Act, 10 June 2009, http://www2.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=4003270&...
For discussion of the effect of the Bill on trade, see:
Barry McKenna, Ban on flavoured tobacco sparks US ire, Globe and Mail, 18 June 2009, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/ban-on-flavoured-tobacco-s...
Statutes of Canada, Chapter 27 including the amending act: