Two-thirds of Canadians say tobacco companies should be able to sponsor bar events

If it were up to Canadians, tobacco marketers would have a lot more leeway than the federal government gives them, at least when it comes to promoting product to consumers over the age of majority.

If it were up to Canadians, tobacco marketers would have a lot more leeway than the federal government gives them, at least when it comes to promoting product to consumers over the age of majority.

Sixty-four per cent believe big tobacco should be allowed to sponsor nightclub events attended only by adults 18 years of age or older, according to a Strategy/Decima poll, which surveyed 2,000 Canadians from across the country.

But Canadians are less inclined to agree that tobacco firms should be able to publish magazines for adults 18 years or older as a method of promoting their brands – only 45% answered in the affirmative, compared to 51% who disagreed.

Peggy Richardson-McKee, SVP at Toronto-based Decima Research, says tobacco firms should be pleased with the results since ‘there’s not a huge percentage of Canadians who [are] strongly opposed. [Almost] 50% are okay with [promotional] magazines and almost two-thirds with sponsoring nightclub [events]. I think that’s pretty encouraging.’

Although both marketing vehicles have been used by tobacco companies in recent years, as of Oct. 1 they are no longer permitted to promote their sponsorship of in-bar programs under Bill C-71, nor are they allowed to have branded signage on-site. And while they can still publish magazines, there are regulations on the types of ads they can run within these publications. (See ‘The Skinny on Bill C-71,’ p. 7.)

Surprisingly, despite the fact that younger folk have been exposed to anti-tobacco rhetoric in the media from an early age, they are more inclined to support these marketing endeavours than those in the 55+ age group. Seventy-two per cent of 18- 24-year-olds surveyed agreed that tobacco firms should be able to sponsor nightclub events, compared to only 51% of respondents 55 years and older.

That division was also clear on the question of magazines: almost 50% of 18-to-24s responded positively to the notion, versus 35% of those 55 and over. Interestingly, more males than females concur that tobacco-produced magazines are okay; 51% of guys surveyed answered in the affirmative, compared to only 39% of women.

Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that Quebecers were least likely to answer in the affirmative on both questions. Only 59% of Quebecers think tobacco companies should be allowed to sponsor nightclub programs, versus 67% of Ontarians and 64% of British Columbians. Similarly, only 41% of Quebec citizens felt big tobacco should be allowed to publish promotional magazines, versus 46% of respondents in Ontario, Alberta and B.C respectively.

Decima conducted the poll on behalf of Strategy via its monthly telephone omnibus, for which data was collected from 2,000 consumers between Sept. 12 and Sept. 22. Each month a random sample is generated and quotas for each region are disproportionately allocated. The data is weighted in tabulation to replicate actual population distribution by age and sex within regions, according to census data.

For more information, contact Decima Research at (416) 962-2013.