Health Canada

Health Canada

February 18, 2011 17:45 ET

Government of Canada Acts to Strengthen and Enlarge Health Warnings on Cigarette and Little Cigar Packages

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 18, 2011) -

Fact Sheet: Stronger health warning messages on cigarette and little cigar packages

The Government of Canada is moving ahead with proposed new regulations to strengthen tobacco labelling requirements in Canada. These proposals include all 16 new and larger health warnings on cigarette and little cigar packages and contact information to help smokers who want to quit. The proposed new messages and labelling requirements will be published tomorrow in the Canada Gazette, Part I.

"The Government of Canada is moving forward on its commitment to introduce proposed new labelling requirements for cigarette and little cigar packages," said the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health. "The proposed new health warnings are designed to better communicate health risks, provoke greater emotional response, and further motivate tobacco users to quit."

The proposed regulations contain new requirements for cigarette and little cigar packages sold in Canada. Key features of the proposed regulations were originally announced by Minister Aglukkaq on December 30th. They include:

  • 16 new graphic health warning messages covering 75% of the front and back of cigarette and little cigar packaging;

  • 8 new health information messages on the inside of the pack that are enhanced with colour and graphics;

  • subject to provincial and territorial agreement, a new, pan-Canadian quitline number and web portal to inform tobacco users about the availability of smoking cessation services; and

  • 4 easier-to-understand toxic emissions statements.

The new health warning messages highlight a new set of tobacco-related diseases and, for the first time, present compelling stories and "testimonials" from people who have been affected by tobacco use.

Health Canada is also proposing new regulations that would prohibit the use of the terms "light" and "mild" on cigarettes and other tobacco products sold in Canada. Research has shown that light and mild terms mislead some smokers into believing that these products are less harmful to their health.

Finally, the Department is proposing to remove numerical values from toxic emissions statements on all tobacco product packages, a move that would remove information that is generally not well understood by tobacco users.

Following publication in Canada Gazette, Part I, there will be a 75-day public comment period on the proposed regulations. Information on the consultations will be available on the Health Canada website.

In addition to the labelling changes, Health Canada is developing a social marketing campaign targeting smokers, including young adults. Multimedia, including social networks across the Web, will be used to reach teenagers and young adults.

The new health warning messages will build on the success of the Cracking Down on Tobacco Marketing Aimed At Youth Act, which protects youth from marketing practices that entice them to smoke. The messages and the marketing campaign, along with existing cessation and prevention initiatives, will result in a comprehensive and integrated approach to tobacco control.

Visit our Image Gallery [http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/consult/_2011/label-etiquet/messages-eng.php] to see the proposed health warning messages and other labelling features. Visit the consultation pages [http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hc-ps/consult/index-eng.php] to provide feedback on the proposed regulations to the Tobacco Act.

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Health Canada news releases are available on the Internet at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/media

Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    613-957-2983
    or
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    Tim Vail
    613-957-0200
    or
    Public Inquiries:
    613-957-2991
    1-866-225-0709