Nancy Miller Chenier, Political and Social Affairs Division
James Robertson, Law and Government Division
Revised 29 September 1997
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. Social Perceptions of Tobacco Use
B. Health Risks from Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke
C. Trends in Smoking Behaviour
D. The Anti-Smoking Movement
E. The Tobacco Growing Industry
F. Government Action
1. Workplace Initiatives
Federal Legislative and Regulatory Developments
a. Tobacco Products Advertising
b. Tobacco Sales to Young Persons
d. Regulating Nicotine and other Content
e. Smoking on Aircraft
3. Provincial Initiatives
Over the past three
decades, North America has witnessed a revolution in attitudes towards
tobacco smoking. What was once considered a normal habit has become increasingly
socially unacceptable. An ever-growing number of non-smokers are much
less tolerant of smoking, and anti-smoking activists have become very
vocal in their opposition to the habit. Governments and other organizations
have become more receptive to lobbying efforts and are introducing bans
and restrictions on smoking.
Since the 1960s,
research has documented the health hazards of tobacco smoking. Originally,
the emphasis was on the danger to the smoker, but in recent years studies
have demonstrated that non-smokers are also at risk from inhaling environmental
tobacco smoke (ETS). While most experts and governments accept the scientific
and medical evidence of the dangers of tobacco smoke, changes do not come
easily. Both the Surgeon General in the United States and the Royal Society
of Canada have concluded that tobacco is a highly addictive product and
many smokers find it difficult, if not impossible, to stop smoking, even
if they want to. Tobacco manufacturers, who have traditionally refused
to acknowledge that any health risks have been proved to be associated
with their product, are a powerful interest. The economic well-being of
tobacco farmers must also be considered. Government policies have often
been somewhat ambivalent; significant tax revenues are derived from tobacco,
yet governments are increasingly concerned about the rising costs of treating
the preventable illnesses that result from tobacco use. High taxes deter
smoking, but also lead to smuggling and other illegal activities.
After 1988, the
federal government initiated a number of measures designed to reduce smoking,
including the Tobacco Products Control Act, the Non-Smokers'
Health Act, the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act. In 1997,
Bill C-71, the Tobacco Act, received Royal Assent.
BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
A. Social Perceptions of Tobacco Use
first explored the New World, they found the inhabitants smoking tobacco
leaves and apparently deriving therapeutic benefits and pleasure from
this activity. By the 17th century, European physicians were prescribing
tobacco in various forms for medicinal purposes. Even after it was realized
that these "cures" were ineffective, tobacco grew in popularity.
In the 20th century, cigarettes and pipes came to be associated with sophistication,
leisure and affluence; films and advertisements helped to popularize smoking
and to develop its connotations of glamour. While traditionally smoking
was associated with masculinity, in recent decades advertisers have successfully
turned their attention to the female market. Only recently, when links
between smoking and various health problems were discovered, did smoking
begin to decline in popularity in western industrialized countries.
As long as smoking
was viewed as a personal issue, people could argue that the government
should not interfere with tobacco use. Since research results confirming
the negative effects of second-hand smoke have become public, however,
perceptions have changed considerably. The social costs of cancer deaths
from second-hand smoke and the lost work time from smoke-related ailments
have been publicized and there have been a growing number of complaints
to workers' compensation boards and human rights commissions about smoke
in the work environment. Smoking is less likely to be considered as a
harmless pleasure than as socially unacceptable behaviour. Many now feel
that it should be the object of government intervention and regulation.
of cigarette smoking among children and adolescents has caused considerable
concern for at least 50 years because nicotine is suspected of inhibiting
physical as well as intellectual growth, is addictive, and causes long-term
health risks. Adolescent smoking is encouraged by peer pressure and is
often perceived as a symbol of rebellion and adult status. Parents, teachers
and youth workers have attacked the advertising industry for linking sexuality
and sociability with smoking and thereby enticing young people to take
up this habit.
B. Health Risks from Smoking and Second-Hand Smoke
cigarette smoking with cancer began to appear in the 1920s, but it was
not until after World War II that deaths from lung cancer became so numerous
that systematic follow-up studies were initiated. Researchers were constrained
by the fact that the most serious ill-effects of cigarette smoking appear
only after an interval of 10 years or more, and establishing causation
can be difficult. By the early 1960s, the risks of lung cancer were found
to be substantially higher for cigarette smokers than for non-smokers,
as were risks of coronary disease and stroke. The accumulating evidence
of the ill-effects of smoking were publicized by the Royal College of
Physicians in London in 1962, Health and Welfare Canada in 1963, and the
Surgeon General of the United States in 1964.
In 1994, the result
of a 40-year study in Great Britain indicated that smoking causes 24 different
diseases. Research has linked cigarette smoking with increased risk of
peptic ulcers, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and cancer of the mouth,
larynx, esophagus, pharynx, bladder, cervix and pancreas. Other recent
studies have linked smoking to cataracts, pelvic inflammatory disease
(PID), leukemia and gum disease, as well as to slower bone healing and
back problems. Smoking during pregnancy has been found to retard the growth
of the fetus and to lead to increased risks of stillbirth, neo-natal death,
and low birth weight. Medical doctors and researchers are now very aware
of the addictive nature of smoking. People in their teens or twenties
often start to smoke and later find that they cannot easily stop. According
to the U.S. Surgeon-General, tobacco is as addictive as heroin.
A July 1995 study
by federal health authorities estimated that the annual deaths attributable
to smoking in Canada at more than 45,000. This is 11% higher than previous
estimates, as a result of improved statistical methods.
The 1995 Study
projected increases in deaths among women attributable to smoking would
increase by 24% from 1991 to 2000. In the last 20 years, the rate of lung
cancer among women has increased by five times; three out of four cases
appear to be caused by smoking. A 1993 study by the University of Toronto
indicated that women who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day for 40 years
are on average 27 times more likely than non-smoking women to develop
lung cancer, and that, in terms of lung cancer, it is about three times
more dangerous for women to smoke than for men. In May 1994, Health Canada
released statistics predicting that lung cancer will kill more women than
breast cancer. These statistics correspond with the increasing prevalence
of smoking among women.
have also focused on the risk of heart attack. Among young men who smoke
more than two packs a day, the risk of heart attack is over seven times
higher than for non-smokers. For women smokers under 50, this risk is
10 times higher than for non-smokers in the same group. A Canadian study
of women who smoke and take the birth control pill found that they were
between eight and 39 times more likely than non-smokers to have heart
attacks, taking into account such things as age and personal habits. Yet
an October 1988 Gallup Poll found that adult respondents underestimated
the risk of smoking, and 90% could not identify smoking as the leading
cause of death in Canada.
According to the
research, tobacco kills 13 times as many Americans as do hard drugs and
eight times as many as automobile accidents. It has been estimated that
smoking is a major contributing factor in 10 to 25% of deaths in Europe
and the U.S., and in about 20% of deaths among Canadians aged 35 to 84.
According to one recent study, smoking was responsible for one out of
five deaths in Canada in 1989.
The World Health
Organization has been particularly outspoken about smoking-related diseases
as "important causes of disability and premature death," and
in May 1986 it urged governments to declare war on smoking, which, it
claimed, is responsible for at least one million deaths a year throughout
the world. Other estimates of the worldwide health costs of tobacco place
the number of deaths as high as 2.5 million per year or 5% of all deaths.
In 1993, the World Bank reported that, if current trends continue, deaths
from tobacco-related illnesses are projected to reach 10 million
a year, or more than 10% of total deaths, by the second quarter of the
next century. A 1994 study predicted that deaths from cigarettes are likely
to triple over the next 25 years.
an issue for non-smokers with the publication of studies finding that
the spouses and children of smokers have increased risk of serious health
problems. One study found that children with parents who smoke experience
much higher rates of respiratory illness, including colds, influenza,
bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia, as well as reduced lung capacity. A
federal Health and Welfare Canada study concluded that the risk of lung
cancer is as much as 3.4 times greater for non-smokers who are exposed
to smoke in the home than for non-smokers who are not. The study found
that one in five Canadians has a serious medical condition (such as asthma,
emphysema, heart disease, or angina) aggravated by exposure to cigarette
smoke. A major study by the Environmental Protection Agency in the United
States was released in January 1993: it concluded that smoking is indeed
a serious and substantial health risk for non-smokers, particularly children.
Some studies have
claimed that a non-smoker who is exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace
for 20 years suffers the same ill-effects as a person who has smoked 10
cigarettes a day during the 20-year period. Second-hand smoke contains
higher levels of cancer-causing chemicals than smoke inhaled by a smoker.
Unfortunately, air filters do not remove these toxic substances. It is
estimated that 330 non-smokers die each year in Canada from diseases attributable
to exposure to tobacco smoke.
As more and more
smokers try to quit, the number and variety of cessation programs and
techniques have increased. In 1992, the nicotine patch became very popular.
Available only by prescription, the patch delivers small doses of nicotine
through the skin, thereby alleviating the withdrawal symptoms resulting
from not smoking. There have been some reports of health problems associated
with the patch, although these principally involve misuse, such as continuing
to use tobacco products while wearing the patch. The current social unacceptability
of tobacco smoke, however, means that public opinion is hostile to smokers
and is unsympathetic to their plight.
C. Trends in Smoking Behaviour
is measured in two major ways in government statistics: by the percentage
of the population who smoke regularly and by the cigarette consumption
per adult or per smoker. Over the last two decades, the global use of
tobacco has increased by 75%. Even in countries such as the United States,
where the overall prevalence of smoking has declined, the per capita consumption
of tobacco has increased by 20%. The trend to quit smoking in many western
industrialized countries has continued since about 1970 and is most pronounced
After rising every
year for about 20 years, cigarette sales peaked in 1982, when Canadians
bought 66.3 billion. By 1989, this number had declined to 50.3 billion,
and by 1995 to 50 billion. In Canada, per capita sales of tobacco products
among people 15 and older decreased by 29% from 1980 to 1989, a greater
decline than in any other major industrialized nation. In 1994, a Statistics
Canada survey found that 6.5 million Canadians 15 years and older, or
approximately 30% of the adult population, are smokers.
A 1992 study by
a professor at the Université de Montréal indicated that, while the use
of tobacco is diminishing among the general population, the number of
young people who smoke continues to grow. The author attributed this to
the twin lures of tobacco: its use indicates "adult social status"
and is also a "symbol of freedom." There is particular concern
over the fact that tobacco use among teenage females has increased markedly
more than use among teenage males.
of regular smokers over 15 years of age varies by province, with the highest
in Quebec at 36% and lowest in British Columbia at 27% in 1985. People
with university education are less likely to smoke than those with some
high school education. Smoking behaviour also varies by occupation: professionals
and those who have never worked for pay have the lowest rates, while miners,
construction and transport workers have the highest. Greater reductions
in smoking have taken place among professional people; this has led some
to refer to smoking as increasingly a "working class habit."
According to a
1985 government study, smoking is particularly high among Inuit, Dene
and Métis in the Northwest Territories. While 78.6% of Inuit women and
66.2% of Dene and Métis women smoke, only 37.2% of non-native women in
the NWT do so. In the North, the percentage of smokers among native women
is higher than among native men.
Although the anti-smoking
movement has experienced some degree of success, the use of smokeless
tobacco, or "snuff" has increased over the last two decades.
In the U.S., this increase has amounted to 40%. Teenage boys especially
are now using snuff, despite its link with oral cancers. In Canada, the
widespread use of snuff by young native males in the north has caused
considerable concern. It should also be mentioned that the sales of fine-cut
tobacco for rolling cigarettes doubled in the past ten years, a reflection,
in part, of high taxes on manufactured cigarettes.
Low tar and nicotine
cigarettes have been developed to reduce health hazards but they retain
high levels of carbon monoxide. It has been suggested, however, that these
cigarettes may actually cause people to smoke more in order to satisfy
their addiction, and thus inhale greater quantities of carbon monoxide.
are now claiming that tobacco manufacturers, to compensate for lost markets
in industrialized countries, are preying on Third World youth, using cigarettes
as symbols of affluence and westernization in countries with no advertising
guidelines or restrictions. Exports of tobacco products from Canada have
increased substantially. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization
of the United Nations, tobacco consumption is dropping by 1.1% a year
in industrialized countries but increasing by 2.1% a year in the Third
A 1993 federal
study indicated that cigarette consumption fell to 223.4 million
cartons in 1991 from 295.3 million cartons in 1985, a decline of
24.3%. Even when increased sales of fine-cut tobacco and other legal domestic
products and estimated smuggled tobacco are taken into account, the study
concluded that tobacco consumption had declined by close to 20% from 1985
to 1991. A Gallup poll in June 1993 found that only 29% of Canadians reported
having smoked within the previous seven days; this compares with 52% of
Canadians who were regular smokers when the issue was first surveyed in
1974. Statistics Canada has also reported that domestic sales of cigarettes
declined significantly between 1992 and 1993. At the same time, exports
increased 88% during the first seven months of 1993, compared with the
same period in 1992. These trends were recently reversed as a result of
the February 1994 decision to reduce tobacco taxes drastically, as discussed
A federal government
study released in November 1994 found that, while smoking patterns change,
the number of smokers is inclined to remain about the same: for example,
between May and August 1994, 1.7 million Canadians altered their smoking
habits in some way -- for instance, by quitting or starting smoking, by
changing from daily to occasional smoking or vice versa; however,
this did not significantly alter the number of Canadians who smoke, a
figure that remains at about 6.5 million, or 30% of the population over
15 years of age.
D. The Anti-Smoking Movement
the interests and concerns of Canadian non-smokers remained virtually
unrecognized. Even people with serious allergies were left with the choice
of avoiding smoky places or quietly tolerating smoke as best they could.
Those who openly objected to tobacco smoke were often thought to be intolerant.
As the negative health effects of smoking are publicized, however, the
anti-smoking lobby has grown.
The financial cost
of allowing smoking to continue is stressed by the anti-smoking movement.
The direct health-care costs of dealing with smoking-related illnesses
vary between 3% and 9% of all health care costs, depending on the country.
In Tobacco Control: A Blueprint to Protect the Health of Canadians,
Health Canada recently stated that more than 40,000 Canadians died in
1991 from tobacco use. In 1993, the estimated societal costs from smoking
totalled about $11 billion: $3 billion was due to direct health care costs
and $8 billion to lost productivity, including forgone household income.
Labour Canada has estimated that an employee who smokes costs his or her
employer between $2,308 and $2,613 more to employ than his or her non-smoking
counterpart. This figure includes the costs of absenteeism, increased
health and life insurance premiums, and lost productivity.
The issue of medical
care for smokers raises difficult ethical questions. Even though it is
argued that the health problems of smokers are self-inflicted, few would
argue that smokers are not entitled to any medical care. More problematic
is the fact that smokers do not recover as well as non-smokers from some
surgery, such as heart bypass operations. In August 1993, a British patient
died after being refused heart surgery because he was a smoker. Most Canadian
doctors urge smokers to quit before surgery. University Hospital in London,
Ontario, denies some liver operations to smokers. With rising heath costs,
and reduced budgets, it is possible that these situations will increase
in the future.
Opponents of smoking
are demanding cleaner air in public buildings, restaurants, and at the
workplace. They also criticize sponsorship of sports and cultural events
by tobacco companies because it lends social acceptability to tobacco
products and may make recipient groups dependent on tobacco use. Non-smoking
groups have aggressively lobbied governments and conducted effective public
relations campaigns such as that by Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
which encouraged doctors to send postcards to Members of Parliament each
time one of their constituents died of a smoking-related disease.
promotion geared to teenagers, and sales of cigarettes to young people,
especially in stores near schools, have been targets of the anti-smoking
movement, since adolescence appears to be the most critical time for starting
the habit. Concern has been expressed about the introduction of smaller
and cheaper "kiddie packs" and "toddler packs" whose
lower cost it is feared might encourage teenagers to experiment with cigarettes.
Adolescents seldom internalize the meanings of warnings against tobacco,
even though they can recite the risks. They seem to retain an illusion
of their own immortality or believe that they will smoke for only a few
A 1985 study on
smoking among Manitoba children found that the majority of daily smokers
aged eight to 15 bought cigarettes in stores, despite the fact that it
is illegal to sell cigarettes to children under 16. Studies in other Canadian
locations have had similar results. Various provincial and municipal governments
have attempted to regulate sales of tobacco products to minors, although
until recently laws were seldom enforced.
A 1995 Ontario
survey found many teenagers in the 12 through 17 year-old age group were
able to link brand-name promotion of sports and cultural activities to
tobacco products. When asked, they were able to identify "Players
Ltd." as both a sponsor and a cigarette brand. This is the age group
most likely to begin smoking.
Although the tobacco
industry agreed to a voluntary code on advertising in 1972, it continued
to advertise heavily. Tobacco companies argued that as long as cigarette
smoking is legal, cigarette advertising should also be legal, and that,
in any event, cigarette advertising is aimed at persuading existing smokers
to switch brands rather than to encourage non-smokers to start. Against
this, it was suggested that advertising is used to recruit new smokers
to replace those who quit or die, and that it sells tobacco by associating
it with a lifestyle or image. Opponents argued for a ban on advertising
tobacco products as well as anti-smoking campaigns and higher cigarette
taxes. Other suggested anti-smoking measures include generic packaging
for all cigarettes and a prohibition on drug store sales of tobacco products.
In response to public lobbying, an increasing number of transportation
companies have banned smoking, and some insurance firms have reduced the
premiums for home and life insurance for non-smokers. Following the Supreme
Courts 1995 decision in RJR-MacDonald, which struck down
most of the laws prohibiting tobacco advertising, the tobacco industry
again agreed to a voluntary code. Accusations that the Code was being
breached soon followed, however.
to the anti-smoking movement continues. A lobby group to protect the rights
of smokers, The Smokers' Freedom Society, was launched in 1986 to fight
high taxes and government intervention in the industry and to "restore
the respectability of smoking." Partly funded by the tobacco industry,
the Society was active in opposing government taxes on tobacco products
and municipal anti-smoking bylaws. The Society no longer exists.
In June 1988, Bill
C-51, which prohibits the advertising and promotion of tobacco products
and regulates their labelling, received Royal Assent. The Canadian Tobacco
Manufacturers' Council challenged the legislation in court as a violation
of freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The initial decision of the Quebec Superior Court struck down the Act.
Ultimately the case was decided by the Supreme Court of Canada: all of
the prohibitions on advertisement and promotion of tobacco products (except
the prohibition on the free distribution of such products) were found
to be unconstitutional restrictions on free expression.
have successfully argued for higher taxes on tobacco products, as a further
deterrent to smokers. In response, the tobacco manufacturers launched
a tax protest in early 1991, with national advertising and cards in cigarette
packages that could be signed and sent to the Minister of Finance. The
high taxes on Canadian cigarettes also exacerbated cross-border shopping
for tobacco products, and were partly responsible for the smuggling each
year of cigarettes worth $500 million. Studies appeared to support
the contention that higher taxes reduce cigarette consumption. The tobacco
manufacturers, however, questioned the directness of the link. Higher
taxes also increased sales of fine-cut tobacco (for roll-your-own cigarettes)
and the export of tobacco products, many of which were smuggled back into
In recent years,
the tobacco industry has also been affected by fear of product liability.
In the United States, aggressive lawsuits have sought damages for
illnesses or death allegedly caused by smoking. As of late 1995, the states
of West Virginia, Florida, Minnesota and Mississippi had filed suits.
Although tobacco companies have lost few cases to date, plaintiffs'
lawyers are now more optimistic because of increasing evidence associating
tobacco products with a variety of ailments. Moreover, in March 1996 one
of the five major U.S. tobacco companies settled out of court on a number
of pending anti-tobacco lawsuits, thereby breaching the industrys
united front. Tobacco manufacturers could lose millions of dollars
as a result of such lawsuits.
In Canada, an action
was initiated in the Ontario Court of Justice, General Division, in 1995.
The plaintiffs are seeking to have the action certified as a class action
suit. The statement of claim includes allegations of negligence, strict
products liability, failure to warn, deceit, negligent misrepresentation,
breach of implied warranty and conspiracy.
In August 1995,
U.S. President Bill Clinton declared that cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
are delivery devices for nicotine, which is an addictive drug. The President
proposed wide-ranging new regulations curtailing the marketing,
promotion and sale of cigarettes to those under 18 years of age. Cigarette
manufacturers immediately filed lawsuits, and advertising organizations
condemned the restrictions as censorship. Anti-smoking advocates in Canada
hope that the Canadian government will be pressured into following suit.
The period for
receiving comments on the new regulations expired in January 1996. In
August 1996, President Clinton announced the final form of the regulations,
which include classifying nicotine as an addictive drug and making it
more difficult to market and sell tobacco products, particularly to children.
Notably, retailers will have to verify, by photo ID, the age of anyone
under 27 years of age who purchases tobacco products. The regulations
will also force the tobacco companies to contribute $150 million (U.S.)
each year towards an anti-smoking campaign directed to teens. In order
to demonstrate that the regulations have been narrowly targeted as required,
however, vending machines and self-service displays will be allowed in
adult-only facilities, mail-order sales will be permitted, and advertising
in colour and using imagery will be allowed in adult-only facilities,
provided it is not visible from outside. Unrestricted advertising will
be allowed in publications primarily read by adults, and tobacco companies
will be able to sponsor activities in the corporate name only. Most of
these regulations came into force on 28 August 1997.
E. The Tobacco Growing Industry
Ontario grows almost
90% of Canada's tobacco crop. In recent years, production has exceeded
demand and millions of pounds of tobacco are being kept in storage. Tobacco
manufacturers are buying less tobacco from farmers because of declining
domestic sales of cigarettes, which they blame mainly on rising government
taxes and increased foreign competition for the export market. Canadian
tobacco farmers want a national marketing board to help maintain prices
and to find new markets in Canada and abroad. They also expect substantial
federal and provincial assistance to find other sources of income and
alternative crops. Rationalization and diversification of crops have maintained
profits for some tobacco farmers, but Canadian communities dependent on
tobacco growing are now suffering financially.
The problem for
the declining tobacco farming industry is not lack of alternative crops
that will grow in the sandy soil of southern Ontario. The real issue is
that the market for none of these alternative crops -- tomatoes, soyabeans,
peanuts, garlic, ginseng -- is as lucrative as tobacco was, or is with
government price supports. In recent times, tobacco returns have averaged
about $4,000 per acre, 10 times the return of alternative crops.
In 1986, Agriculture
Canada established a $30 million program to help tobacco farmers diversify.
The Ontario Flue Cured Tobacco Growers' Marketing Board, however, asked
for $200 to $300 million from government cigarette taxes for this purpose.
Even so, many growers have left tobacco farming in the past few years
as sales dropped, profits declined, and debts mounted. A federal-provincial
exit program in Ontario now pays farmers to stop planting tobacco. In
October 1988, the federal government added $30 million to this program
and an additional $5 million for farmers outside Ontario. Nevertheless,
in 1989 a group of Ontario tobacco farmers called Fair Compensation for
Tobacco (FACT) started lawsuits against both the federal and Ontario governments
to seek compensation for damages to their industry caused by rising tobacco
In September 1996,
it came to light that the federal Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Canada was contributing funding to research aimed at developing better
F. Government Action
1. Workplace Initiatives
Since 1976, many
municipal governments across Canada have passed by-laws prohibiting smoking
in non-residential buildings and public transportation. Several city governments
have also tackled the thorny issue of smoking in the workplace. San Francisco's
by-law prohibiting smoking in the workplace except in designated areas
and allowing anti-smokers to complain to the Board of Health in cases
of non-compliance became an example to other jurisdictions. In Canada,
many municipalities followed Toronto's lead and announced that smoking
in the workplace would be confined to designated areas with special ventilation
systems. The Quebec government banned smoking in most public buildings,
except designated areas, as of 1 January 1987. The Ontario government
passed Bill 194, An Act to restrict smoking in workplaces, in July 1989.
In December 1985,
an adjudicator for the Public Service Staff Relations Board concluded
that the federal Department of Health and Welfare was breaching its collective
agreement by not protecting its employees from cigarette smoke, which
can be considered a "dangerous substance." The federal government
successfully appealed this decision, however, as tobacco smoke is not
deemed to be a hazardous product under the law.
On 22 April 1987,
the federal government announced a series of measures designed to discourage
tobacco smoking. In addition to Bill C-51, most of these initiatives were
directed at smoking in workplaces under federal jurisdiction. As of 1
October 1987, the federal government banned smoking at service counters,
waiting rooms, desks and wickets serving the public in federal government
buildings, and restricted to designated areas in public service workplaces.
On 1 January 1989, the federal government banned smoking by federal
public servants in all areas of federal buildings. The Correctional Services
of Canada is instituting a non-smoking policy in all federal prisons as
in the workplace has continued to be controversial. If smoking is a physical
and psychological addiction, it may be difficult to give up, especially
in a stressful work environment. If employees who smoke regularly adjourn
to the designated smoking area, can they be expected to be as productive
as they were when they could smoke and work at the same time? Another
problem with preventing smoking in the workplace is that most ventilation
systems recycle air, and can thus distribute smoke throughout the building.
Creating a completely separate ventilation system for a smoking room is
considered too costly by most employers, especially in the present economic
2. Federal Legislative and Regulatory
a. Tobacco Products Advertising
Products Control Act, which received Royal Assent in June 1988, provided
the authority for banning all tobacco advertising and the imposition of
restrictions and gradual phasing out of promotional activities and sponsorship
by tobacco manufactures, and the requirement of more explicit health warnings
on tobacco product packages.
In June 1989, the
Health and Welfare Minister said that no warnings about tobacco and addiction
could be put on packages of cigarettes until the government had determined
for certain that there was a link between the two. The Royal Society of
Canada was given $30,000 to study the relationship between smoking and
addiction, despite the fact that reputable American scientists claimed
to have already established such a link. The Royal Society reported in
October 1989 that tobacco was indeed addictive. From that date until the
September 1995 Supreme Court of Canada decision in RJR-MacDonald,
the federal government required tobacco manufacturers to place explicit
health warnings on their packaging.
was the court case in which the tobacco companies challenged the legislation.
In 1991, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the Tobacco Products
Control Act intruded on provincial legislation and violated the tobacco
companies' right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the Charter. In
January 1993, however, the Quebec Court of Appeal overturned this decision,
holding that the ban was an appropriate response to the smoking problem,
even in the absence of conclusive proof that a prohibition on advertising
would reduce smoking. The tobacco companies appealed the decision to the
Supreme Court of Canada. They sought an exemption from compliance with
the regulations until the Court had disposed of the appeal, but the Court,
in March 1994, rejected the arguments.
As of September
1994, tougher and more prominent health warnings were required on cigarette
packages. In late September 1995, however, the Supreme Court released
the appeal decision in RJR-MacDonald, striking down all the challenged
advertisement and promotion prohibitions, with the exception of the law
prohibiting the distribution of tobacco products without charge.
Although a majority
of the Court held that the legislation was properly part of the federal
legislative sphere, the Court also held, by a margin of 5 to 4, that all
of the prohibitions on advertisement and promotion (with the above-noted
exception) were unconstitutional restrictions of the Charter-guaranteed
freedom of expression. The key to this decision was the Court's finding
that the laws were more severe than was proven necessary to meet Parliament's
goal of reducing advertising-related consumption.
The critical flaw
in the labelling law was the "unattributed" nature of the health
warnings, reasonably seen as compelled expression by the tobacco companies
themselves. The critical flaw in the advertising ban was that it included
both "lifestyle" and purely informational advertising. The Court
found that the latter was not an inducement to smoke, as it simply provided
comparative brand information for existing smokers. The rational linkage
between the use of logos on non-tobacco merchandise and tobacco consumption
failed to establish to the Court's satisfaction that less severe laws,
such as an advertising ban limited to "lifestyle" advertising
or to advertising targeting young persons, and mandatory but "attributed"
health warnings, would not have had the same desired effect on advertising-related
consumption. This failure was compounded by the fact that the government
refused to bring into evidence more than 500 documents requested by the
appellant tobacco companies, including at least one document known to
pertain to a study of alternative measures.
This decision received
considerable media attention. The Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Association
indicated its willingness to continue to abide by the provisions of the
Act for the time being. The federal Minister of Health stated that the
Court's decision, and the government's options, were under study. Other
interested groups have argued either that the impugned legislation should
be re-enacted and protected by the "notwithstanding" clause
or that tobacco advertisement and promotion should be prohibited under
the federal Hazardous Products Act. The tobacco industry adopted
a voluntary code of ethics relating to advertising, but by early 1996
there were allegations that this code was unenforceable and was in fact
In December 1995,
the Minister of Health released Tobacco Control: A Blueprint to Protect
the Health of Canadians, providing the general outlines of the governments
plans for new legislation. The reinstatement of health messages and toxic
constituent information on tobacco product packaging, accompanied by a
rule allowing for attribution of the messages, is described as "an
important first step in rebuilding the governments strategy."
According to the Blueprint, the governments intentions include:
- implementing "the most
comprehensive prohibition on advertising possible";
- restricting promotion by such
means as prohibiting cross-advertising between tobacco and non-tobacco
products, and prohibiting tobacco product testimonials and personal
- minimising "lifestyle"
advertising and promotion by limiting both form and content of publicity
relating to tobacco company sponsorship of activities, events or venues,
and by requiring the prominent display of health warnings on such advertising
as is permitted;
- further restricting access to
tobacco products by underage purchasers by prohibiting self-service
displays and mail order sales;
- prohibiting nearly all forms
of advertising and promotion at point of sale and limiting product sale
- introducing regulations requiring
changes to tobacco products such as lowered yields of tar and other
toxic constituents; and
- increasing reporting requirements
for tobacco manufacturers, distributors and importers.
(Bill C-117) addressing health and toxic contents warnings on tobacco
product packaging was introduced for first reading on 12 December 1995
(see LS-232E). Bill C-117 and its replacement (Bill C-24) sought to amend
the labelling provisions in the Tobacco Products Control Act which
had been struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada in the RJR-MacDonald
decision (see LS-241E). Although certain other minor adjustments would
have been made to the Act, no provisions would have dealt with the other
advertising and promotion provisions struck down by the Court.
These bills were
superseded by Bill C-71: An Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling
and promotion of tobacco products, which was introduced for first reading
on 2 December 1996 (see LS-283E). Known as the Tobacco Act,
the bill aimed to regulate the composition of tobacco products, young
persons access to tobacco products, tobacco labelling and tobacco
product promotion. The Tobacco Act received Royal Assent on 25 April
1997. Tobacco product advertising, sponsorship, testimonials, points of
sale display, and brand names on accessories are among the specific forms
of promotion affected by this legislation. Debate over the sponsorship
restrictions in the bill was significant and led to an amendment delaying
their coming into force until 1 October 1998 or such earlier day
as ordered by the Governor in Council. This legislation is already facing
a court challenge from tobacco companies who claim that parts of the law
are unconstitutional and contrary to the 1995 Supreme Court ruling.
b. Tobacco Sales to Young Persons
On 4 February 1993,
the Minister of National Health and Welfare, the Hon. Benoît Bouchard,
introduced Bill C-111 (now the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act)
in the House of Commons. This Act replaced the antiquated Tobacco Restraint
Act, raised the minimum age for buying tobacco products from 16 to
18, and imposed fines of up to $50,000 on those selling tobacco to persons
below that age. It also severely restricted the placement of vending machines.
As Bill C-111 the Act received widespread support and positive reaction
from politicians, the media, and even tobacco manufacturers, although
small retailers and vending machine operators expressed reservations.
The bill was quickly passed by the House of Commons and Senate, and received
Royal Assent on 25 March 1993. It was proclaimed in force on 8 February
1994. (See LS-163E).
Act replaced the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act. It prohibits
the provision of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age, prohibits
the manufacture and sale of "kiddie packs," and limits self-service
or automated distribution of tobacco products (see LS-283E).
c. Plain Packaging
In March 1994,
the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health began a study of the
issue of plain packaging of tobacco products. The Minister of Health,
the Hon. Diane Marleau, expressed her support for the idea, as did several
provincial ministers of health and some groups. Others, however, questioned
the constitutionality and legality of requiring plain or generic packaging
for tobacco products.
In June 1994, the
Committee issued its report, in which it recommended that "prudence
should be exercised" in introducing plain packaging because of constitutional
concerns; the Committee felt that there was a need for clear evidence
that stripping cigarette packages of colour and trademarks would help
reduce smoking, especially among young people. On 18 November 1994, the
government tabled its response to the Committee report indicating that
it agreed with the Committee that generic packaging of tobacco products
could be a considerable step in reducing incentives to smoke, especially
for young people. It also stated that it wanted to review the findings
of a study being conducted by an expert panel which is evaluating the
role of packaging in inducing the purchase of tobacco products. The government
also said that it was examining the legal, international trade, economic
and contraband implications of product packaging modifications. Provinces
and territories attending the September meeting of health ministers expressed
support for generic packaging. A resolution calling on countries to promote
generic packaging as a means of reducing incentives to smoke was also
adopted at the Ninth World Conference on Tobacco and Health held in Paris.
In May 1995, the
Minister of Health released the government's $500,000 report on plain
packaging. While acknowledging that it is impossible to prove conclusively
that plain packaging would get smokers to quit or to deter young people
from starting, the report concluded that generic cigarette packages would
reduce cigarette consumption. The Minister, the Hon. Diane Marleau, however,
indicated that there are difficult legal, political and economic battles
to be fought before generic packaging becomes law, and she declined to
predict whether or when legislative action would be forthcoming. Bill
C-71 and the resulting Tobacco Act did not explicitly address plain
packaging, although, arguably, this could be prescribed by regulations.
d. Regulating Nicotine
and other Content
In April 1994,
the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council released a list of 13 chemicals
that are added to cigarettes sold in Canada. U.S. tobacco manufacturers
had previously announced that 600 additives were used in American cigarettes
and concerns had been expressed in both Canada and the United States that
manufacturers might be adding nicotine to their products to increase addiction.
While the Canadian manufacturers admit to adjusting the blend of tobaccos,
they deny adding nicotine itself. In November 1994, it was announced that
a federal Department of Health study had found a cancer-causing compound
(4-amino-biphenyl) in the smoke of domestic cigarettes. Recently, concerns
have been expressed over the use of terms such as "smooth" and
"additive-free" on cigarette packaging.
Bill S-5, An Act
to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation and labelling of tobacco
products, was introduced in the Senate on 19 March 1996, but died when
the election was called in 1997. A principal focus of the bill was to
set maximum levels of inhalable nicotine and tar (per gram of tobacco),
and to set a minimum non-reconstituted tobacco level and a maximum additive
level in tobacco product formulations (see LS-250E).
Under the Tobacco
Act, the federal government has regulatory authority to prohibit the
manufacture of any tobacco product that fails to comply with composition
standards. These standards could set the quantities of substances to be
allowed in tobacco products or emissions. During committee hearings on
Bill C-71 (now the Tobacco Act), Health Canada indicated that regulations
would not be formulated until further scientific evidence was gathered
e. Smoking on Aircraft
In November 1986,
the Transport Minister announced that smoking on all Canadian aircraft
would be banned during flights of two hours or less. In September 1987,
it was decided that this regulation would be effective on 9 December 1987,
with fines up to $5,000 for passengers who continued to smoke and $25,000
for airlines which failed to enforce the ban. The United States placed
a similar ban, effective April 1988, on U.S. domestic flights of two hours
or less. In September 1988, Air Canada broadened its ban to cover all
North American flights, and flights to Hawaii and Mexico.
As of 1 July 1994,
Canada banned smoking on all international airplane flights, thus becoming
the first country to have banned smoking on both domestic and international
flights over its territory. The ban also applies to charters and commercial
group flights. In November 1994, Canada, the United States and Australia
agreed to ban smoking on all non-stop international flight between the
3. Provincial Initiatives
like the federal government, also increased taxes on tobacco products,
partly to obtain revenue but also to discourage tobacco use. Because of
rising health care costs, this had become an increasing priority for several
also took other anti-smoking initiatives. British Columbia, for instance,
introduced enabling legislation to require the licensing of retail outlets
that sell tobacco products, and to permit the suspension of the licences
of retailers who sell cigarettes to children. In 1993, the Nova Scotia
government also announced anti-smoking initiatives.
In 1994, the province
of Ontario enacted a range of measures to restrict the use of tobacco
as part of its goal to reduce smoking in the province by 50% by the end
of the decade. The province's new anti-smoking Act prohibits sales of
tobacco in pharmacies and other health facilities, outlaws vending machines,
raises the legal age for purchase of tobacco from 18 to 19, and prohibits
smoking in all health facilities except residences such as nursing homes.
The legislation imposes higher fines for selling cigarettes to minors
and allows the province to impose generic packaging for all tobacco products
sold in the province. The Act has been described as the toughest tobacco
control legislation in North America.
In July 1996, the
Toronto City Council passed a controversial by-law outlawing smoking in
all restaurants, bars and entertainment facilities as of 1 January 1997.
Similar but less extensive measures have been enacted elsewhere in Canada.
Vancouver has prohibited smoking in public areas open to children, including
restaurants; and in Victoria all hospitality establishments must be 60%
non-smoking by September 1996 and 100% non-smoking by January 1999. On
8 October 1996, Toronto City Council modified its ban: smoking will
be allowed in entertainment facilities, provided it takes place in enclosed,
separately ventilated rooms which must amount to less than 25% of the
facilitys total seating capacity.
4. Smuggled Cigarettes
By the end of 1991,
12.5% of Canadian production was being exported to buyers outside Canada
-- what the tobacco lobby calls the "tax-exempt market." The
RCMP estimated that four out of every five cartons were re-imported illegally
into Canada, where they were sold without the domestic taxes. In February
1992, the federal government imposed a $1 a pack export tax on cigarettes;
this was intended to discourage a thriving trade in contraband Canadian
cigarettes. The tax was withdrawn in April 1992 under pressure from the
tobacco companies, who threatened to move production to the United States.
Federal and provincial taxes on tobacco products, which had increased
relentlessly since the late 1980s, had been successful in discouraging
smoking, but had also fostered a flourishing underground economy. According
to a study commissioned by the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers Council,
one in nine cigarettes bought in Canada in 1991 was either stolen or smuggled
across the border, producing an estimated tax loss of $1.1 billion. This
represented a five-fold increase from 1990. Discussions began on whether
to re-introduce an export tax or, conversely, to lower taxes on tobacco
in an attempt to curb the burgeoning contraband cigarette trade.
became an increasing problem, particularly on certain native reserves
on or near to the Canada-U.S. border. It was estimated that 70% of smuggled
cigarettes were passing through the Akwesasne Reserve near Cornwall, Ontario,
where a number of violent incidents allegedly related to smuggling occurred
in the summer and autumn of 1993.
The growing concern
about contraband cigarettes was prompted by the violence involved in smuggling,
as well as the loss of tax revenues to governments and the reduced sales
by legitimate businesses. Various politicians, particularly in Quebec,
suggested that a reduction in taxes on tobacco should be considered as
one way of curbing the contraband cigarette trade. It was argued that
by decreasing the price differential between legal and contraband Canadian
cigarettes, the market for illegal products could be eliminated. Concerns
were also raised about the direct and indirect costs, including police
costs, of combatting cigarette smuggling. Against this, anti-smoking groups
argued that price is an important deterrent to tobacco usage, which might
tend to be encouraged by a reduction of taxes. It was also pointed out
that in Europe tobacco taxes are higher than they are in Canada. The situation
in Canada, though, was complicated by the proximity of the Canadian-U.S.
border, and an apparent ineffectiveness or unwillingness to stop illegal
In November 1993,
the Ontario government announced measures designed to deter tobacco smuggling.
These included increased fines and penalties and new police powers. The
province estimated that smuggling was costing it up to $250 million in
lost taxes annually. Critics argued that, rather than dealing with the
effects of smuggling, the province should be dealing with the causes;
that is, it should try to eliminate the conditions that make contraband
attractive in the first place.
On 8 February
1994, the federal government announced a series of measures designed to
combat cigarette smuggling. These included a $5-a-carton federal tax cut
for cigarettes and an offer to match any provincial tax cuts of more than
$5 to a maximum of another $5; the re-imposition of an $8-a-carton tax
on tobacco exports; a surtax on tobacco manufacturers' profits; an enhanced
enforcement program, including more customs inspectors and RCMP anti-smuggling
agents; and the launching of a comprehensive anti-smoking advertising
campaign. The government also used the opportunity to proclaim in force
the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, and agreed to look at regulations
requiring generic packaging and full disclosure of additives.
decision was highly controversial. Most provincial governments, with the
exception of Quebec, were critical, and did not immediately reduce their
own taxes, although some subsequently did so. The tax cuts angered health
groups, who argued that taxes constitute a major disincentive to smoking,
and that other measures could have been used to reduce smuggling. Questions
were also raised about the full costs of the plan, including forgone revenues,
and the effects on health costs. According to the government, however,
cigarette smuggling had become a $5-billion business, with 66% of cigarettes
bought in Quebec and 40% of those bought nationally being illegal. It
also argued that organized crime controlled 95% of contraband tobacco,
tax revenues were being lost at an increasing pace, the social costs were
unacceptable, and lower-priced illegal cigarettes were already undermining
the anti-smoking policies of the federal and provincial governments.
The long-term effects
of the government's anti-smuggling initiatives are still unclear. According
to Statistics Canada, the prices of cigarettes fell by an average of 36.6%
across Canada in 1994, the only reported decline since 1954. The decline
was even more precipitous in the provinces that matched the federal government's
by Canadian manufacturers rose about 5% in 1994, including both domestic
and export sales. Manufacturers shipped the equivalent of 56.8 billion
cigarettes in 1994, compared to 54 billion in 1993. Both exports and domestic
sales must be taken into account since, during the height of the smuggling
crisis, tobacco companies were exporting to the United States enormous
quantities of cigarettes, nearly all of which were re-entering Canada
illegally. As the contraband market dried up, so too did the exports.
increased after the tax reductions; however, it is not clear whether this
was because smokers were once again legally buying tobacco products in
Canada, rather than using smuggled products, or because more people were
taking up smoking (or taking it up again) in response to lower prices.
A June 1994 survey carried out by the York University Institute for Survey
Research on behalf of the Addition Research Foundation indicated that,
for the first time in three decades, tobacco use was on the increase,
with most new smokers being women. In November 1994, however, Statistics
Canada released a survey concluding that smoking prevalence had actually
declined somewhat between May and August 1994, but a report from the federal
Department of Health in February 1995 found that smoking levels were higher
in 1994 than in the previous year. A 1995 survey entitled A Study on
Youth Smoking, carried out jointly by the University of Toronto, University
of Illinois at Chicago, and the Addiction Research Foundation found that
underage teenagers are smoking more in the wake of the tobacco tax rollback
in February 1994.
by Health Canada confirmed that price is the most important factor in
determining smoking levels. In 1990 when cigarette taxes were consistent
across the country, so were smoking levels. In 1994, however, five provinces
matched federal tax cuts with the result that cigarette prices varied
from $2.50 to $5.00 across the country. While smoking levels have declined
across the country, the decline was considerably greater (20%) in those
provinces with higher prices than in those that had the lowest taxes (4%).
In February 1995
the price of a carton of cigarettes increased slightly -- by about $1.20
-- as a result of increases in federal and provincial taxes. There are
reports that the smuggling of tobacco products across the border has been
increasing since that time.
Report (1970) of the House of Commons Committee on Health, Welfare
and Social Affairs contained recommendations on restricting the advertising
and promotion of tobacco products.
to ban the advertising of tobacco products, was introduced by the
government in June 1971 but never debated. Instead, the tobacco industry
and the government agreed to voluntary guidelines.
1986, the Canada Labour Code was amended to contain occupational
health and safety provisions that would make it easier for workers
to refuse dangerous work. Tobacco smoke was not specifically mentioned
as a threat to health, but in October 1986 a decision by Labour Canada
upheld the right of an Air Canada employee to refuse to work in a
the Non-Smokers' Health Act, was introduced on 6 October 1986. It
proposed regulating smoking in the workplace and on common carriers
under federal jurisdiction, as well as amending the Hazardous Products
Act in relation to cigarette advertising. This Private Member's
bill, introduced by Lynn McDonald, passed second reading and was sent
to committee, where it was debated for nine months. On 11 February
1988, it was approved with amendments and on 31 May 1988 it passed
third reading; though it received Royal Assent in June 1988, it was
not proclaimed at that time (see note 8, below). (See LS-18E)
to prohibit the advertising and promotion and respecting the labelling
and monitoring of tobacco products, was introduced by the Minister
of Health and Welfare on 30 April 1987. On 31 May 1988, the bill passed
third reading. It received Royal Assent in June 1988. (See Library
of Parliament LS-4E) The legislation has been challenged in the courts
by the Canadian tobacco companies.
On 31 March
1989, the Speaker of the House of Commons announced that, effective
14 August 1989, employees of the House of Commons and visitors
to Parliament Hill would no longer be permitted to smoke in the Parliament
Buildings. Smoking was also to be banned by the same date in all premises
occupied by the Library of Parliament. Members of Parliament might
continue to smoke and to allow their staff to smoke in their own offices,
however, even though employees of the House of Commons would not be
allowed to do so. In addition, smoking would still be permitted in
a portion of the Parliamentary Restaurant and the press room in the
On 18 May
1989, first reading was given to Senate Bill S-6, An Act to amend
the Tobacco Restraint Act and to amend the Tobacco Products Control
Act. This bill would have raised the fines for selling tobacco products
to anyone under the age of 18, and made it an offence to operate a
tobacco vending machine. The motion for second reading of the bill
was defeated on 24 October 1989, and the bill was withdrawn from the
an Act to amend the Non-Smokers' Health Act (formerly C-204), was
introduced in the House of Commons on 16 June 1989; it passed
through the Senate and was given Royal Assent on 29 June 1989.
This bill made technical amendments to Lynn McDonald's Private Member's
bill, including the clarification of terms and the provision of enforcement
Sales to Young Persons Act (Bill C-111) was given Royal Assent
on 25 March 1993. It was designed to reduce smoking among young
people by raising the minimum age for purchasing tobacco products
to 18 and restricting the location of vending machines. It was proclaimed
in force in February 1994. (See Library of Parliament Legislative
Summary No. LS-163)
On 8 February
1994, the Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, announced measures to reduce
cigarette smuggling, including reductions in federal taxes on cigarettes,
an export tax, a surtax on tobacco manufacturers' profits, increased
enforcement, and a major advertising campaign aimed at young people
and parents. The Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act was also
proclaimed in force. Bill C-11, An Act to amend the Excise Act, the
Customs Act and the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, was introduced
in the House of Commons on 10 February 1994 and received third
reading on 14 June 1994 (see LS-188E).
On 12 December
1995, first reading was given to Bill C-117, An Act to amend the Tobacco
Products Control Act. This bill was intended to reinstate health and
toxic constituent warnings on and in tobacco product packaging, but
to allow for the "attribution" of such warnings.
- On 19 March 1996, first reading
was given to Bill S-5, An Act to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation
and labelling of tobacco products; second reading was given to the bill
on 21 March 1996.
- On 22 March 1996, Bill C-24,
An Act to amend the Tobacco Products Control Act replaced Bill C-117.
- On 2 December 1996, Bill
C-71: An Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and promotion
of tobacco products (replacing Bill C-24) received first reading; by
25 April 1997, it had received Royal Assent. The resulting Tobacco
Act replaced the Tobacco Products Control Act and the Tobacco
Sales to Young Persons Act. It regulates the composition of tobacco
products; young persons access to tobacco products; tobacco product
labelling; and tobacco product advertisement, endorsement, and sponsorship.
1908 - The
Tobacco Restraint Act made it illegal to sell tobacco products to
anyone under 16 years of age. This law has not been enforced in at least
1962 - Report
of the Royal College of Physicians in London providing research evidence
of the harmful consequences of smoking.
1963 - Health
and Welfare Canada linked cigarette smoking and lung cancer in a report.
1964 - Report
of the United States Surgeon General on medical consequences of smoking.
1970 - World
Health Assembly adopted its first anti-smoking resolution calling upon
governments to act against smoking as an avoidable cause of death.
1970 - The House
of Commons Committee on Health, Welfare and Social Affairs recommended
a ban on tobacco advertising and promotion.
June 1971 - The
government introduced Bill C-248 to ban advertising of tobacco products,
but the bill was never debated.
1982 - Health
and Welfare Canada launched an anti-smoking campaign.
- The Minister of Fitness and Amateur Sport announced an end to sponsorship
of amateur sports events by tobacco companies.
- Treasury Board announced voluntary guidelines on smoking in the workplace
by federal public servants.
- Health and Welfare Canada launched a $1.5 million anti-smoking campaign
aimed at youth.
- The Minister
of Agriculture gave $90 million to tobacco farmers as price support.
- Two bills were introduced by Private Members to control smoking in
- Air Canada introduced trial smoke-free flights on certain routes.
- The U.S. Surgeon General's Report attacked passive smoke as a major
health hazard and urged bans on smoking in the workplace.
- Agriculture Canada set up a $15 million program to help tobacco farmers
April 1987 -
New restrictions were announced for smoking in workplaces under federal
- The Minister
of Health and Welfare introduced Bill C-51 to prohibit the advertising
and promotion of tobacco products.
- Transport Canada banned smoking on all Canadian airline flights of
two hours or less, effective December 1987.
- Smoking was restricted to designated areas in public service workplaces.
May 1988 - Bill
C-51 and Bill C-204 both passed third reading in the House of Commons
on 31 May 1988.
June 1988 - Both
Bill C-51 and Bill C-204 were given third reading by the Senate on 28
June 1988, and received Royal Assent on the same date. The bills came
into force on later dates.
- Federal public servants were prohibited from smoking anywhere in most
federal buildings as of 1 January 1989.
March 1989 -
The Speaker of the House of Commons announced a smoking ban on Parliament
Hill starting August 1989, but MPs and their staff could continue to
smoke within their own offices.
June 1989 - Bill
C-27, which amended C-204, was given Royal Assent.
1989 - As of
31 October, all tobacco product packages were required to carry one
of four specified health warnings.
- The federal Minister of Health and Welfare proposed tougher and more
prominent health warnings on tobacco product packages, effective 1 June
July 1991 - The
Quebec Superior Court held that the Tobacco Products Control Act
was unconstitutional. This decision was appealed by the federal government:
RJR-MacDonald Inc. v. Canada, 82 D.L.R. (4th) 449.
- The Quebec Court of Appeal, overturning the decision of the Quebec
Superior Court, upheld the constitutionality of the Tobacco Products
Control Act. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada,
which heard it in November 1994.
March 1993 -
The Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, which received speedy
passage through the House of Commons and Senate, received Royal Assent.
- The federal government announced a series of measures to combat cigarette
smuggling and proclaimed in force the Tobacco Sales to Young Persons
July 1994 - Canada
banned smoking on all international flights entering and leaving the
- Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Excise Act, the Customs Act, and the
Tobacco Sales to Young Persons Act, received Royal Assent.
- The final decision in RJR-MacDonald v. Canada was rendered
by the Supreme Court of Canada. The Court ruled that all the advertising
and promotion restrictions in the Tobacco Products Control Act,
with the exception of the law against distributing free tobacco products,
were unconstitutional. The law was within federal legislative competence,
but its infringements of the constitutional guarantee of freedom of
expression could not be justified.
1995 - The federal Minister of Health and Welfare set forth the governments
proposed strategy respecting tobacco products in Tobacco Control:
A Blueprint to Protect the Health of Canadians. The Blueprint proposes
"the most comprehensive prohibition on advertising possible."
Bill C-117, which
would amend parts of the Tobacco Products Control Act, was given
March 1996 -
Bill S-5, An Act to restrict the manufacture, sale, importation and
labelling of tobacco products, received first and second readings. Bill
C-24 replaced Bill C-117 and received first reading.
July 1996 - Toronto
City Council passed a controversial by-law outlawing smoking in all
restaurants, bars, and entertainment facilities as of 1 January
August 1996 -
U.S. President Bill Clinton announced new regulations, to come into
force in August 1997, classifying nicotine as an addictive drug, and
making the marketing and sale of tobacco products to children more difficult.
Tobacco companies would be required to contribute $150 million annually
to anti-smoking campaign directed to teens.
- Bill C-71, An Act to regulate the manufacture, sale, labelling and
promotion of tobacco products received first reading. It included measures
corresponding to the 1995 Blueprint.
April 1997 -
Bill C-71, the Tobacco Act, received Royal Assent.
The original version of this Current Issue Review was published in
October 1986; the paper has been regularly updated since that time.