Canadian Lung Association

Canadian Lung Association

September 27, 2011 14:44 ET

Canadian Lung Association Applauds Federal Action on New Tobacco Warnings

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2011) - The Canadian Lung Association (CLA) is welcoming federal government action to mandate stronger warning labels on tobacco products. Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq today announced the coming into force of new regulations requiring more graphic, strongly worded warning labels on packages of cigarettes and other tobacco products.

"Smoking is still the number one preventable cause of death in Canada, killing over half of long-term smokers," says Heather Borquez, CLA's President and CEO.(1) "The new warning labels are a critical step in reducing the heavy toll of smoking on the health and lives of Canadians."

The new warnings introduced by the federal government will include important improvements to enhance their effectiveness:

  • enlarged size, covering 75% of the front and back of packages of cigarettes and small cigars (up from 50%)
  • multiple combinations of graphics and warning text
  • new images including photographs of people severely affected by smoking-related disease
  • testimonials from smokers
  • addition of a national toll-free number and website address for support in quitting
  • new full-colour warning messages inside the packages
  • improved toxic emissions warnings on the sides of packages

"The stronger warning labels are especially important to deter young people from taking up smoking," says Ms. Borquez. "We need to prevent the emergence of another generation of smokers." Research has shown that larger, more graphic images on tobacco products are effective in discouraging young people from starting smoking, especially when combined with strong messages on the effects of tobacco use. Stronger warnings also help encourage existing smokers to quit.(2),(3),(4)

The Canadian Lung Association is praising the important leadership of the federal government on tobacco control and smoking cessation in recent years, including its introduction of legislation to restrict flavoured tobacco products and other enticements to youth smoking, the crack down on contraband cigarettes, and the extension of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy.

Recent statistics released by Statistics Canada show that Canada's efforts to reduce the deadly impact of smoking are paying off. The smoking rate among adults has fallen from 24% in 2000 to 17% in 2010. The smoking rate among youth aged 15-19 has been reduced from 25% in 2000 to 12% in 2010.(5)

"We are making real progress in reducing rates of smoking," said Ms. Borquez, "But millions of Canadians are still at risk from the devastating health effects of tobacco use. We are pleased that the federal government is continuing its invaluable contribution to the fight against smoking."

To sustain this important effort CLA is urging the federal government to renew Federal Tobacco Control Strategy (FTCS) at current funding levels for another five years. The federal strategy has been the cornerstone of successful national action on tobacco control and smoking cessation across the country for the past 10 years.

About The Canadian Lung Association

Established in 1900, The Canadian Lung Association is one of Canada's oldest and most respected health charities, and the leading national organization for science-based information, research, education, support programs, and advocacy on lung health issues.

(1) Canadian Medical Association. (2000). Proposed tobacco products information regulations: Brief to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health. Retrieved from http://www.cma.ca/index.php?ci_id=3101&la_id=1

(2) International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project. FCTC Article 11 tobacco warning labels: evidence and recommendations from the ITC project. Waterloo (ON): Department of Psychology, University of Waterloo; 2009. Available www.itcproject.org/keyfindi/itctobaccolabelsbrov3pdf (accessed Dec. 10, 2010).

(3) Environics Research Group. Testing New Health Warning Messages for Cigarette packages: A Summary of Three Phases of Focus Group Research: Final Report. Prepared for Health Canada; 2000.

(4) Borland R, Hammond D, Fong GT, et al. Findings from the ITC-4 Country Study: Wave 5.

(5) Statistics Canada, Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, 2010.

Contact Information

  • Christopher Wilson
    Director of Public Affairs and Advocacy
    Canadian Lung Association
    (613) 298-5464
    cwilson@lung.ca