Le Lézard
Subject: MAT


Imperial Tobacco Canada calls on Minister Holland to have an open and unbiased discussion on ZONNIC for the good of public health

MONTREAL, Dec. 1, 2023 /CNW/ - Imperial Tobacco Canada (ITCAN) is disappointed that the Honourable Mark Holland was misinformed about the company's new smoking cessation product ZONNIC and attacked ITCAN rather than have an open a discussion based on facts. The minister is misinformed on several points regarding ZONNIC and ITCAN would like to set the record straight.

"We were dismayed to hear how Minister Holland talked about ITCAN, its employees and ZONNIC, the new cessation product we proudly launched a couple of weeks ago," said Frank Silva, President and CEO at ITCAN. "He can ask anyone who works here, we are committed to reducing the health impact of our business and we stand by ZONNIC to help make this happen."

Defaming a legal company about a product that was recently authorized for sale by his ministry is not worthy of a Canadian Health minister ? even one whose background is as an anti-tobacco lobbyist.

ZONNIC nicotine pouches were authorized for sale by Health Canada as a nicotine replacement therapy following a two-year process in which ITCAN demonstrated the safety and the efficacy of the product. Since 2018, ITCAN has met with Health Canada multiple times to ensure the product satisfies all requirements and expectations. Its intended use is to help smokers quit, like any other cessation brand on the market. ITCAN urges the minister to put aside his personal long-standing vendetta against the tobacco industry and focus on the public health benefits of ZONNIC nicotine pouches, instead of focusing on the fact that the product is distributed by ITCAN.

As difficult it is for the Minister to believe, he and ITCAN share the same goal of reducing smoking rates. Canada has a golden opportunity to achieve its target of reducing smoking rates below five percent by 2035. We just have to look at Sweden to see how it can be done. Sweden is about to become the first smoke-free country. This is being achieved by embracing new, less harmful nicotine products and creating a policy environment which encourages smokers to move away from smoking. With a common goal of having a Smoke Free Canada, ITCAN believes that ZONNIC can reduce rates even further, and help achieve the same results here in Canada.

"I was surprised to hear the Minister say that he will 'find us', as we have been trying to meet with him for a while now. My door is always open to have an honest discussion with him, public health groups and anyone sharing the same goals of a Smoke Free Canada,'' said Mr. Silva.

Despite what the Minister falsely claimed, ITCAN is not marketing ZONNIC any differently than other smoking cessation products. In fact, ITCAN has self-imposed additional safeguards at convenience stores, to ensure ZONNIC is not accessed by minors. The company has gone above and beyond the regulatory requirements in the terms of its market authorization by instructing retailers to require proof of age to purchase ZONNIC at convenience stores. ZONNIC is also sold behind the counter, which means the retailer must hand the product to the consumer. ITCAN takes this very seriously. ITCAN is also working to make ZONNIC available in pharmacies across Canada.

"Minister Holland is the Minister of Health for all Canadians, including those who smoke. Quitting intentions are high in Canada. Rather than threaten to pull a product from the shelves that could help save lives, we believe he should be embracing new products that can help more Canadians quit smoking and make a real difference. Let's have this discussion, Minister," concluded Mr. Silva.

About Imperial Tobacco Canada

Imperial Tobacco Canada is Canada's leading tobacco and vaping products company and is part of the world's most international tobacco group: BAT. BAT is a global multi-category consumer goods business, operating in over 180 markets. Our vision is to build A Better Tomorrowtm by reducing the health impact of our business through offering a greater choice of enjoyable and less risky products for our consumers.

Our strong foundations, together with our capacity for cutting-edge innovation, are a platform for us to build more sustainable products for our adult consumers, and a more sustainable business for our colleagues, shareholders, and communities.

SOURCE Imperial Tobacco Canada

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