Major court defeat for tobacco industry in Canada

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Canadian tobacco companies have failed in their attempt to get the Canadian Tobacco Act overturned in court.

Québec Superior Court judge André Denis today upheld the constitutionality of the Act, which severely restricts the advertising media and types of advertisement that can be used to promote tobacco brands. He also upheld regulations under the Act that mandate picture-based health warnings on cigarette packs and require manufacturers to provide extensive reports on product ingredients and emissions as well as marketing activities and research.

The Tobacco Act was passed by Parliament in 1997, following a 5-4 Supreme Court judgement in November 1995 that overturned the complete advertising ban contained in the 1988 Tobacco Products Control Act. The tobacco industry immediately went to court to challenge the new Act, leading to a marathon five-year legal battle. The industry is expected to appeal today's ruling to the Québec Court of Appeal and then, depending on the outcome, to the Supreme Court.

The full text of the Superior Court ruling, in both French and English, should be available shortly via