Health Canada

Health Canada

September 27, 2011 09:09 ET

Harper Government Takes Action With Tough New Warning Messages for Tobacco Products

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 27, 2011) -

Backgrounder: New Tobacco Labelling Regulations (

The Harper Government gave final approval for tough new warning labels on cigarettes and little cigar packages, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, and the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced today. Tobacco manufacturers and importers have been given until March 21, 2012 to transition to the new labels, while retailers will have until June 19, 2012 to ensure all packages on their shelves feature these new labels.

"Our Government has followed through on its commitment to introduce new, stronger labelling requirements on key tobacco products," said Minister Aglukkaq. "The new Tobacco Act regulations will put new, updated health warnings and information into the hands of millions of smokers."

The new health warnings are part of new Tobacco Act regulations, now in force, that set out new labelling requirements for cigarettes and little cigars.

"The messages introduced today reflect recent research on the health hazards associated with tobacco use and the benefits of quitting," said Minister Blaney. "This is an important initiative for the health of Canadians."

The new health warnings feature, for the first time, compelling stories from people affected by tobacco use, such as the late anti-smoking activist Barb Tarbox. Two of the messages feature images of Ms. Tarbox, taken while she was dying of lung cancer. Pat Tarbox, her husband at the time, and Mackenzie Tarbox, their daughter, joined Minister Aglukkaq for the announcement.

"I applaud the courage and commitment of those who are sharing their experience with tobacco use through these messages," said Minister Aglukkaq. "I'm especially proud to welcome the family of Ms. Tarbox. Her unforgettable image has become a symbol of the hazards of smoking."

"The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada commends Minister Aglukkaq on this important initiative aimed at reducing death and disability caused by tobacco industry products, including heart disease and stroke, and other chronic diseases," says Bobbe Wood, President, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "We've learned that when it comes to tobacco control, we must be comprehensive a key component of this approach includes strong, graphic and prominent warnings on tobacco packaging."

The regulations will be published soon in Canada Gazette, Part II. Also now in force are new regulations prohibiting the terms "light" and "mild", and variations thereof, on cigarettes, little cigars and various other tobacco products and accessories.

Visit our image gallery (, now featuring new facts and information on the new health labels.

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Contact Information

  • Media Inquiries:
    Health Canada
    (613) 957-2983

    Cailin Rodgers
    Office of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq
    Federal Minister of Health
    (613) 957-0200

    Public Inquiries:
    (613) 957-2991