Nova Scotia

Imperial Tobacco sues Nova Scotia over menthol cigarette ban

Imperial Tobacco Canada has filed a legal challenge against Nova Scotia’s menthol ban, which is set to take effect on Sunday.

'Illegal tobacco dealers get new business opportunity presented to them on a silver platter'

Imperial Tobacco Canada has filed a legal challenge against Nova Scotia's menthol ban, which is set to take effect on Sunday.

"By prohibiting the sale of menthol cigarettes,the Government of Nova Scotia has stepped beyond its legislative authority, which leaves us with no other choice than to bring this matter in front of the courts," said Caroline Ferland, vice president of the company's corporate and regulatory affairs.

"The Nova Scotia government's decision to default to knee-jerk regulation rather than fact-based regulation informed through meaningful public consultation will only exacerbate the already well-established illegal tobacco problem in the province."

Menthol products have been in the market for over 80 years and data shows that they are preferred by an older demographic, Imperial Tobacco claims. 

Ban fails in intention

Imperial Tobacco spokeswoman Nadine Bernard said the ban goes against what it is intended to achieve.

"We clearly support regulations that are based on facts and evidence especially those intended to keep tobacco products out of the hands of youths. We believe that by banning menthol, it`s not going to happen," she said Thursday from the company's Montreal office.

"We believe we have strong grounds as menthol has been twice exempted from the tobacco flavour ban by the federal government because of the lack of evidence demonstrating that it is attractive to youth."

The challenge was filed to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Black market business opportunity

"We cannot speculate what will come. We would like for menthol should be taken out of the ban. We believe that by banning menthol the only thing that will happen is really to drive adult smokers to contraband," Bernard said.

"Today I think there is over 35 different brands of menthol cigarettes available. People will continue to smoke menthol cigarettes but they will come from the illegal market."

RCMP has identified more than 175 criminal organizations in Canada who profit directly from the sale of illegal tobacco, the company said in a news release.

"It is not often that illegal tobacco dealers get a new business opportunity presented to them on a silver platter," said Ms. Ferland.

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