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Canada bans tobacco

CANADA has passed its Tobacco Act and that means that advertising of tobacco products and sports sponsorship will have to stop. Last week the Supreme Court of Quebec rejected an attempt by the Canadian tobacco companies to block the law with an injunction. The tobacco makers say that they will continue to fight the new law on constitutional grounds, arguing that the new law disregards a Canadian Supreme Court ruling of September 1995 which overturned the Tobacco Products Control Act on the grounds that the law violated the concept of free speech.

The tobacco companies have, however, won a concession from the government regarding sports sponsorships with the law not coming into effect until October 1998, which will give sporting organizations the opportunity to find replacement sponsors.

The long-term effect of the law will be to deprive young Canadian drivers of the chance to climb up the ladder in international motor racing. In recent years Players Ltd. has supported a string of young hopefuls notably Jacques Villeneuve, Greg Moore, Patrick Carpentier, David Empringham and Claude Bourbonnais.

A similar law in France has caused a drastic reduction in the number of French racers enjoying international success simply because there has been no money available to help them through their careers.

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