Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada

April 24, 2009 11:28 ET

Women deserve to be warned

Health Canada should move quickly to put breast cancer warning on cigarette packages

Attention: Health/Medical Editor, News Editor OTTAWA--(Marketwire - April 24, 2009) - Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada (PSC) today called for health warnings on cigarette packages that communicate the risk of breast cancer from exposure to tobacco smoke. The doctors' organization is calling for these reforms in light of the report of the Canadian Expert Panel on Tobacco Smoke and Breast Cancer Risk, published yesterday by the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit.

The Expert Panel concluded that both smoking and exposure to other people's tobacco smoke increase the risk of breast cancer, and noted that "effective messaging" to ensure that the public is fully informed of these risks would be desirable.

"The most effective way of providing this information to every smoker is to make sure it is printed on every brand of cigarettes," said Dr. Atul Kapur, PSC's president. Tobacco package warnings are highly effective because they are low-cost and high reach. Package warnings are delivered to smokers on virtually every occasion that the products is used.

The health warnings currently on cigarette packages have been in use for eight years, and research shows that smokers believe they are wearing out. PSC encouraging Health Canada to move quickly to put new warnings in place, and to include a warning on breast cancer in the next round.

"Health Canada should make sure that Canadian smokers and women are warned, and that the warnings are designed to have the greatest possible impact," said Dr. Kapur. PSC notes that Health Canada's own research recommends that increasing health warnings to 90% or 100% of the principal surface would greatly enhance their impact on health knowledge and smoking behaviour.

PSC has provided examples of warnings for breast cancer and tobacco use at:


Contact Information

  • Cynthia Callard, Executive Director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada
    Primary Phone: 613-233-4878
    Secondary Phone: 613-850-5594