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Canada proposes Graphic Health Warnings covering 75% of the front and back of cigarette packs

Monday, February 14th, 2011

February 2011, Canada - The Canadian Government has proposed tough new regulations to strengthen tobacco labelling requirements in Canada.

The proposed regulations apply to cigarette and little cigar packages and key features 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 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, as currently happens in the EU. Research has shown that light and mild terms mislead some smokers into believing that these products are less harmful to their health.

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

"The proposed new health warnings are designed to better communicate health risks, provoke greater emotional response, and further motivate tobacco users to quit," said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health.

There is a planned 75-day public comment period on the proposed regulations, information on which will be available on the Health Canada website.

For more information, please see:

Health Canada Fact Sheet

Health Canada News Release

Proposed new messages: New Health Warnings, Toxic Emissions Statements and Health Information Messages

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