Pursuit at the Doctor’s Office

In a doctor’s waiting room this morning I picked up a copy of Pursuit magazine. It looked innocuous enough — a glossy magazine with articles about travel, movies and so on. A sort of “poor person’s Vanity Fair.”

As is my habit, I read through the masthead, and was curious to find the following sentence: “Financial support provided by Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited.”

As I continued to read, I realized that most if not all of the advertising in the magazine was for the “cover” organizations that Imperial Tobacco has set up to cloak its cigarette advertising trade: du Maurier Arts, Team Players and so on.

Indeed if you look up the WHOIS record for pursuitmagazine.ca, you find that it’s registered to Imperial Tobacco Canada Limited.

I’m not paranoid enough to think the doctor in cahoots with Big Tobacco — I’m sure the magazine ended up on their waiting room coffee table by mistake. But it does show how insidious these publications can be, and how they can end up in sadly ironic settings.

As an interesting aside, as outlined in this NOW article, Pursuit is published by Multi-Vision Publishing Inc., which also publishes SHIFT and Saturday Night.

It amazes me that Imperial Tobacco hasn’t followed the model of its American cousins, and changed its name to something like Altria (which is the new name of the Philip Morris Companies). Perhaps Benefix, or Wonderco, or Smothur?

Of course Imperial Tobacco feels “that to be truly successful, we should be making a difference in the lives of those around us and contributing in a meaningful way to the development and growth of our society.”

How do these people sleep at night?