Health Groups Urge Immediate Appeal of Court Decision on Tobacco Displays
SASKATCHEWAN--Health groups are disappointed by today’s court judgment against Saskatchewan’s retail tobacco display ban legislation. The groups are urging the Saskatchewan government to appeal this decision immediately to the Supreme Court of Canada and to ensure the ban stays in effect pending an appeal.
“This ban is seen worldwide as precedent-setting. It bans tobacco advertising in public places frequented by children and youth,” says Donna Pasiechnik, Canadian Cancer Society. “Given the addictive and deadly nature of cigarettes, it is urgent that the provincial government take whatever legal steps are necessary to retain this important legislation.”
Today’s decision by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal is in disagreement with the September 25, 2002 finding of Justice Ronald Barclay of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, which ruled that the Saskatchewan legislation was consistent with the federal Act. It should be emphasized that the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal recognized that the law on this issue is unclear, stating that it was an “admittedly uncertain matter.” The decision is also surprising knowing that the federal Government itself argued there was no conflict with the Federal Act.
The World Heath Organization along with national and provincial health organizations have strongly endorsed the ban on retail displays because it is a form of advertising. Paul Van Loon, Lung Association of Saskatchewan, says, “Children should not grow up in an environment where a highly addictive drug is marketed as a popular product right next to the candy and hockey cards.”
The12thWorld Conference on Tobacco or Health highlighted Saskatchewan’s ban in August 2003. The Canadian Cancer Society and the Saskatchewan Coalition for Tobacco Reduction have dealt with a large number of inquiries from other parts of the world by developing a website – www.bandisplays.ca.
In 2002, Ireland followed Saskatchewan’s lead by adopting similar legislation. Iceland’s retail ban was challenged by the tobacco industry but was dismissed by the courts in September 2003.
Manitoba has adopted a retail ban similar to Saskatchewan. This will come into effect on January 1, 2004. The platform of the new Liberal government in Ontario also includes a province-wide tobacco display ban.
Tobacco use is the leading preventable cause of death and illness in this country and kills 45,000 people every year in Canada…1600 in Saskatchewan alone.
For more information please contact:
Canadian Cancer Society
Paul Van Loon
Lung Association of Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan Coalition For Tobacco Reduction
Canadian Cancer Society
Ottawa, ON (613) 565-2522 ext 305