Canada becomes world-leader in tobacco plain packaging

25 July 2018

Improving the cancer patient experience In late June Canada’s Minister of Health, Ginette Petitpas Taylor, unveiled the country’s new national regulations on tobacco plain packaging, which CCS is praising for being the best and most comprehensive in the world. The regulations are subject to a public consultation period ending September 6. It is expected that plain packages will be on store shelves at some point in 2019.

Tobacco use causes about 30% of all cancer deaths, and CCS has been advocating for tobacco plain packaging regulations since the 1990s. Research shows that plain packaging reduces the appeal and attractiveness of tobacco products, especially to youth.

The new national regulations for tobacco plain packaging prohibit brand colours, graphics and logos on all tobacco product packaging, and require a drab brown colour to appear as the base colour for all brands. Health warnings including the toll-free quit line number will remain on tobacco packages.

“We strongly support these regulations as they are essential for protecting Canadian kids from tobacco industry marketing,” says Rob Cunningham, Senior Policy Analyst, Canadian Cancer Society. “Tobacco is addictive and deadly and should not be sold in packages made to be more attractive. Tobacco packaging should not function as mini-billboards promoting tobacco use.”

Additionally, slim and superslim cigarettes – attractive to young women and girls – will be banned. Cigarettes will have to be packaged in a standardized slide and shell format, thus increasing warning size and effectiveness. Overall the regulations contain many detailed measures, including at least 10 that are world precedents.

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