BAT's Subsidiary Secretly Launches Campaign to Oppose Quebec E-cigarette Ban

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BAT's Subsidiary Secretly Launches Campaign to Oppose Quebec E-cigarette Ban
BAT's Subsidiary Imperial Tobacco secretly launches campaign against upcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes in Quebec, targeting youth market.

On October 19, Canadian media outlet La Presse reported that Imperial Tobacco, a Canadian tobacco giant, is secretly leading a campaign against an upcoming ban on flavored e-cigarettes in Quebec. These e-cigarette products are particularly popular among minors.


The "Bye saveurs" (Goodbye Flavors) campaign has been ongoing in Quebec for several weeks, but the mastermind behind it remains a mystery. Whether it's the posters seen in convenience stores and gas stations or the website, the organizers of this movement have deliberately avoided disclosing their identity.


However, it is worth noting that it was the Canadian Imperial Tobacco Company that launched this campaign, and interestingly, the Canadian Imperial Tobacco Company is a subsidiary of British American Tobacco.


In an email, the company expressed their desire to ensure that "adult consumers who choose e-cigarettes are aware of the new regulations and, if they wish, have the possibility to voice their dissatisfaction to their representatives," said Éric Gagnon, Vice President of Legal and External Affairs at Imperial Tobacco.


The "Bye saveurs" website features a countdown timer displaying the day and hour when the new regulations implemented by Quebec will come into effect, starting from October 31st this year. Additionally, numerous convenience stores have also displayed posters showcasing the numerical countdown.


The website also offers a series of Q&A sessions. When it comes to the question "Is vaping harmful to health?", the answer is, "E-cigarette products are less harmful than traditional cigarettes," and they can "help smokers quit smoking.


The ban targets flavored e-cigarette products, and it is currently supported by the health department in Quebec. The provincial health authorities in Quebec aim to mitigate the harmful effects of e-cigarette products, particularly among the younger population.


Due to the increasing appeal of e-cigarettes among young people in Quebec, this phenomenon is now experiencing a "surge". Currently, nearly one-fifth of teenagers are using e-cigarettes, even though the sale of these products is prohibited among adolescents. Additionally, among this group of 15 to 17-year-olds, 33% are using e-cigarettes on a daily basis.


The Imperial Tobacco Company stated that they are deeply concerned about the issue of teenagers engaging in e-cigarette usage.


But these new regulations do not help reduce the consumption of e-cigarettes among young people, as the black market will fill the gap with flavored products," Mr. Gagnon believes, "this market will remain unregulated and uncontrolled.


The Imperial Tobacco company in the province of Quebec has registered itself as a lobbying group, primarily in order to "provide the Quebec government with the latest smoking data".


However, Florie Ducasse, spokesperson and co-director of the Quebec Coalition for Tobacco Control, believes that Imperial Tobacco's approach to conveying their message is "cunning and covert." She points out that Imperial Tobacco, after losing a class-action lawsuit in 2019, has placed itself under the protection of corporate bankruptcy restructuring.


Nearly 100,000 Quebecers have participated in this class-action lawsuit, which resulted in three tobacco companies being ordered to pay approximately CAD 15 billion in damages.


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