OTTAWA, November 9, 2006 -- At the request of the Competition Bureau, the three major cigarette manufacturers in Canada have agreed to accelerate the removal of the descriptors "light" and "mild", or variations thereof, from their cigarette packaging. Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited, Rothmans Benson & Hedges Inc. and JTI-Macdonald Corp. will each phase out these descriptors on affected brands and products, commencing no later than December 31, 2006 and ending no later than July 31, 2007.
A total of 79 brands of cigarettes will be affected. Also affected will be 18 varieties of fine-cut tobacco.
"Through this action Canada joins other countries where cigarettes are no longer described as "light" or "mild", said Sheridan Scott, the Commissioner of Competition. "Light, mild, and similar descriptors are no longer used in the European Union or in Australia".
"I am pleased that the tobacco companies have agreed to voluntarily discontinue use of these descriptors in advance of anticipated regulations requiring their removal," the Commissioner said.
A complaint was received by the Bureau concerning the use of "light" and "mild". The inquiry into the complaint will, therefore, be discontinued.
In addition to the three largest tobacco companies, there is also a number of smaller manufacturers in Canada who sell cigarettes described as "light" or "mild". The Commissioner will seek similar agreements from these firms to cease use of these descriptors.
The Competition Bureau is an independent law enforcement agency that promotes and maintains competition so that all Canadians can benefit from competitive prices, product choice and quality services. It oversees the application of the Competition Act, the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act and the Precious Metals Marking Act.
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