Canada Also Adding Stronger Warnings to Cigarette Packs

Larger, color warnings, easier-to-understand information about toxics in the smoke, and a phone number and URL to reach smoking cessation services will be included.

Canada's government announced Dec. 30 that it will propose new rules this year to require larger health warning messages and a toll-free quitline on cigarette and little cigar packages. The minister of health, Leona Aglukkaq, and Pierre Poilievre, a member of Parliament, made the announcement. "The combination of larger health warning messages and social marketing will help the new messages reach as many smokers as possible," said Aglukkaq. "This comprehensive strategy will ensure Canada remains a world leader in tobacco control initiatives."

FDA announced recently that color photographs will be added to cigarette packs in the United States to depict diseases and deaths caused by smoking.

"Giving Canadians the straight-up goods on the dangers of tobacco use in a more prominent and visible way through larger, more effective tobacco warning labels is a significant step in our ongoing battle to reduce tobacco consumption and, ultimately, cardiovascular disease," said Irfhan Rawji, who chairs the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "The foundation commends the federal government for this important step in encouraging Canadians to be smoke-free and live healthier, longer lives."

The new Canadian messages will rotate to keep them effective longer. Heather Borquez, oresident and CEO of the Canadian Lung Association, said the warnings "are a key part of the broad effort needed to keep young people from smoking and encourage existing smokers to quit." The warnings will include:

  • Graphic health warnings featuring new diseases and, for the first time, testimonials from individuals affected by tobacco use. The warnings will cover 75 percent of the front and back of cigarette and little cigar packages, up from the current 50 percent.
  • A quitline number and URL to contact smoking cessation support services.
  • Improved health information messages and toxic emission statements.

Health Canada says smoking kills 37,000 Canadians annually. It is developing a social marketing campaign targeting smokers.

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