Canada has one of the world’s toughest antismoking campaign.
They have passed laws against tobacco advertising and have used virtually all of the Presidents proposals against tobacco.
Now they are saying that if Clinton’s proposals do become a law it won’t do much good.
By 1993 the tobacco taxes in Canada had a pack of cigarettes up to $5.00 a pack . Thanks to these measures, Garfield Mahood, Executive Director of the Toronto based Non-Smokers Rights Association., said, ” Canada has had world precedent-setting declines in teen smoking.” Between 1979 and 1989, the number of teens aged 15 to 19 who smoked at least occasionally was halved to 23%. In contrast U.S. efforts have been a huge disappointment. Some 30% of high school seniors smoked through the 80’s and now there is an alarming increase.
Clinton’s program doesn’t include a stiff tax increase and experts say that is where Canada’s progress stemmed from.
The big disappointment is kids have smoked more since the Federal and Provincial Governments slashed cigarette taxes in early 1994 to combat a flood of cheap smokes smuggled in from the U.S. A pack of 25 now sells for around $2.50 in Ontario, down almost 44% from 1993. Now, a University of Toronto survey found a third of Junior High School are puffing more. Moreover the number of teens smoke occasionally jumped to 27.8% in 1994 from 22% in 1991.
Clinton’s program includes Prohibition of sales to minors.
Canada has found such bans are useless because 59% of Ontario’s smoking minors still bought their smokes from a store. One of the bad things about prohibiting tobacco advertising reduced marketing costs, causing tobacco industries to earn “phenomenal profits”. At Imperial Tobacco which controls 65% of the Canadian market, operating profits have doubled since 1988.
No wonder Clinton’s proposal probably won’t work. Kids don’t pay attention to their health. They do pay attention to their wallet. That’s why the American Cancer Society and over 100 other health groups are lobbying a $2.00 per-pack tax increase. This leads to Canada suggesting Clinton’s proposal could have room for improvement.